Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kerala police arrest man on suspicion of planting crude bomb

BANGALORE: The Kerala police have identified a person, suspected of planting a crude bomb in Kingfisher flight IT-4731 at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. Unconfirmed reports said that the man had been detained.

Meanwhile, the Kerala police also the found that the newspaper in which the bomb was wrapped was circulated in Nedumangad, about 18 km from the state capital. A senior police officer in Kerala said that the bomb was probably placed before passengers had boarded the flight on Saturday night. It was learnt that an interrogation of the cleaning staff had not yielded any results.

The flight, which reached the Bengaluru International Airport on Saturday night, returned to Thiruvananthapuram the next morning with 27 passengers and four crew members.

A Kerala police team, headed by Thiruvananthapuram city police commissioner MR Ajith Kumar had, on Sunday, interrogated more than 20 people who were on duty at the Bangalore airport.

The investigating team also grilled airline officials before returning. The Bangalore police also questioned those on duty at the cargo section and security check points of the airport.

�We suspect the involvement of outsourced employees (caterers and loaders) as nobody else � with the exception of the cabin crew � has access to the galley at the rear of the aircraft, an airport official said. Ruling out the possibility of passengers or other airport workers being involved, he said, �Nobody else is allowed to enter that area of the aircraft. We are only looking at people who have access to that section.�

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner of police (north-east) Basavaraj Y Malagatti said that the fact that the bomb was wrapped in the Thiruvananthapuram edition of a Malayalam newspaper, dated March 17, 2010, and a Kerala SSLC question paper suggested that the crude bomb was placed into the aircraft at Thiruvananthapuram.

Malagatti said that the city police were waiting for their Kerala counterparts to complete their part of the investigation. �We have formed five teams to probe the case from the Bangalore side. We will be sharing information with our Kerala counterparts,� he said.

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