Indian intelligence agencies are ascertaining whether the man arrested for forcibly trying to enter the cockpit of a Delhi-bound Air India flight from Milan (Italy) on 2 August has any links with any terror group like the Khalistani outfit or if he was in an inebriated state.
An Indian intelligence official, in touch with the authorities investigating the matter in Italy, said, “We are carefully looking at the investigation that is underway in Milan. The investigating authorities are looking at all angles to ensure that the incident was not linked to any terrorist outfit. Prime facie, it looks like he was in an inebriated state and is being questioned by the Milan police.” The unruly passenger, Gurpreet Singh, who was seated at 32C, an aisle seat, in the Delhi-bound Air India flight AI 138, started loitering around the cockpit door and forcibly tried to enter the cockpit of the plane that had 250 passengers on board, according to sources in Air India. The mid-air incident happened within an hour of take off, of the flight from Milan. An Air India spokesperson told The Sunday Guardian, “The Air India flight was diverted back to Milan when the captain of the flight was informed that a man was trying to enter the cockpit of the flight. The Milan ATC was informed and a request made for landing as is the international protocol on safety and security of the flight. The flight had to dump its fuel to make this emergency landing.” Officials said that an aircraft that has just been refuelled before take-off, is too heavy to land safely, so it is a standard procedure to dump fuel to reduce landing weight. The spokesperson said that the pilot decided to go for an emergency landing as the safety and security of the passengers were at stake.
The flight finally took off for Delhi from Milan after a delay of two-and-a-half hours. The passenger is likely to be put on the no-fly list, which was introduced following several reports of unruly incidents involving passengers.