In what was seen as a major security concern involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a suspected defused grenade that was found inside an Air India aircraft believed to be put on standby for Modi's US trip, was afterall a 'plastic wrapper'. It later turned out that the plane was not the one put on stand-by for Modi's flight.
According to The Times of India, a 'defused grenade' was found in the business class of the Boeing-746 early on Saturday, when it completed a commercial flight.
According to sources, the aircraft was fully ready for use by the Prime Minister had the Jumbo jet, in which he eventually travelled, developed a snag.
"The B-747 was sent on a Delhi-Mumbai-Hyderabad-Jeddah flight. On reaching Jeddah in the early hours of Saturday (India time), security agencies there found a defused grenade inside the business class of the aircraft. This sensational discovery of a defused bomb on an aircraft kept standby for the PM has sent everyone in a tizzy," an official told TOI.
The suspicious object was found in the upper deck in the business class of the double-decker aircraft after it landed in Jeddah, following which the plane was moved to an isolated area where the grenade was removed.
"Jeddah airport security has sanitized the aircraft and given it the clearance to fly out. But now Indian security agencies have taken over this case and are investigating how a defused grenade could make it inside the aircraft," an official said.
"AI and security agencies have been trying to resolve this mystery, which would be a serious security lapse unless it happens to be an exercise by the security/intelligence agencies to check the alertness of our aviation security wing."
Following the report on Saturday, Air India conducted an investigation and, as per initial reports, the airliner had found that the defused grenade was in fact a "plastic casing" of a shell of a stun grenade used by security during an anti terror drill, as reported by The Indian Express. The airline said it was carrying out investigations, assuring that the grenade was "completely harmless".
In later reports, AI said that the object was nothing but a plastic wrapper.
Modi's security has been a major concern after he took office as Prime Minister, and according to security experts, he faces the biggest threat to his life than any Prime Minister after Rajiv Gandhi.
In fact, earlier this year, before the election results, Indian security officials had received an intelligence message that terror groups were plotting to assassinate Modi in a similar manner in which Gandhi was killed by a human bomb.
Modi's security cover is reportedly twice that of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.