UAE Air Force plane with arms held at Kolkata
Kolkata: A transport aircraft of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force that had landed at Kolkata airport for refuelling Sunday evening was detained for carrying weapons and explosives without declaring them, an official spokesman said here Monday.
All nine officials aboard, including the captain of the aircraft, were questioned for the entire day by the customs officials. The plane will only be allowed to leave after clearance from customs and the Indian Air Force, the spokesman 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 Defence Ministry spokesman said.
"But in the official form they just wrote 'nil' in the particular column where it was required to mention whether the aircraft was carrying any arms or explosives on board," ministry spokesperson (Eastern Command) Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani 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)," Upasani said.
"Later, all nine crew members, including the captain, were taken for interrogation and the aircraft was parked at one of the airport bays," he said, adding that the customs officials did a "wonderful job" by detecting the arms and ammunition in the plane.
"The UAE Air Force personnel were quizzed for the entire day. The case is now with the customs and once they clear it and give permission to the UAE aircraft to fly out, then only it will come to us," he said.
"They will also again have to seek permission from the Indian Air Force (IAF) before they fly out from here," Upasani said.