New Delhi: Three Italians and two Indians
were detained in Mumbai and Pune today after 24 cartridges
were found from a room in a 5-star hotel near the Indira
Gandhi International Airport where they were staying, police
Besides the live cartridges, two dismantled empty
magazines of Italian make were recovered from the air
conditioner in Room No 448 of Radisson Hotel by its staff on
the evening of May 24 where the Italians were staying, Deputy
Commissioner of Police (South) H G S Dhaliwal said here.
Police is investigating the motive behind the foreigners
in bringing the ammunition here and whether they smuggled it
into the country or bought it here. Investigators are also
looking into their contacts in the country.
Giulio Ponetto was detained at Mumbai airport while
Giovanni Ceccomello and Donato D`ngello were picked up from a
hotel in Shivajinagar area of Pune along with two Indians -
Rajesh Sethia and Sagaraj Suri - who were present with them in
the same room.
52-year-old Ponetto was planning to fly to Munich in
Germany by LH 765 Lufthansa Airlines to evade arrest, Joint
Police Commissioner (Law and Order) Rajnish Seth said in
Mumbai. He was handed over to Sahar Airport police by
immigration officers at the Mumbai airport, Seth said.
According sources in Pune Police, the Italians and two
Indians were detained following an input received from Delhi
Police. "They claimed to be sales representatives of a
petrochemical company," they said.
The Italians, who claimed to be working with a
petrochemical company, had checked into three rooms in the
hotel on May 24 and left after seven hours, Dhaliwal said.
"They checked in at around one am into three rooms and
left at 8:30 am. The cartridges were recovered from Room No
448 where Ceccomello was staying. They had no business here
and they left the city in a hurry," a senior police official
said. The Italians reached the city from Milan.
"The cartridges were recovered when the hotel staff went
inside the rooms for cleaning. They noticed that there was an
unusual sound from the air-conditioner. A mechanic found the
cartridges in a polythene bag in the AC shaft," Dhaliwal said.
Soon after, police was informed and a case registered
under the Arms Act and CCTV footages as well as footages of
baggage scanner were checked, a senior police official said.
"From this, we found that similar material was in the
laptop bag of the Italians. A look out notice was issued
yesterday and they were traced to Mumbai and Pune," he said.
Asked whether there was any oversight on part of the hotel
staff, Dhaliwal said, "It appears so." However, they
immediately informed police when the cartridges were detected,
A team of Delhi Police has reached Mumbai while another
team is headed to Pune. All the five are likely to be brought
to Delhi tomorrow.
In Pune, sources said, police had entered the hotel where
the Italians were staying and waited there for about three
hours from 1 am before a team of policemen dressed as hotel
waiters knocked the doors of the rooms where the four men were
In February, two British nationals were caught from the
same 5-star hotel here for plane spotting. They were later let