Air India's call centre in Delhi received a bomb threat call for their AI-020 Delhi-Kolkata flight, media reports said. A bomb threat assessment committee (BTAC) was soon convened at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport and all passengers including four MPs and a West Bengal minister were de-boarded, ANI said.
According to The Times of India, the bomb threat call came at around 2.25 pm when 248 passengers had boarded the flight for its departure to Kolkata.
The pilot had to make an announcement that the flight was "sabotaged". An Air India official said that another aircraft has been arranged to fly the passengers to Kolkata at 6 pm.
The official told the Times of India that as per standard operating procedure for security drill, the baggage loaded on that plane was offloaded for checks and this took about two hours. Later, the aircraft was taken to a remote location for a thorough security check.
The aircraft has been kept in isolation at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport, Times Now reported. Soon, canine and bomb detection squads of the CISF and other security agencies took over.
Security agencies, after over six hours of anti-sabotage checks, gave an all-clear signal to the aircraft but the airline arranged another aircraft to take the passengers to their destination.
"Meanwhile, a new aircraft was provided for the travel of 242 passengers along with four Members of Parliament and a minister in the West Bengal government. Six passengers aborted their journey," they said. The MPs included three from the TMC Anupam Hazra, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Vivek Gupta and CPM's Jitendra Choudhury along with West Bengal transport minister Suvendu Adhikari. A former Supreme Court judge was also in the passengers' list, they added.
Choudhury told PTI that he and others were "waiting" for the all-clear signal so that they can reach Kolkata. An Air India spokesperson offered no comments on the incident.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Mar 28, 2018 21:57:47 IST