A New York police officer arrested at Delhi airport last month for carrying three livebullets in his luggage is out on bail, authorities in India said onSaturday, as officials dismissed US media reports describing it as India's revenge over the Khobragade affair.
US police officer Manny Encarnacion was arrested on March 11 after three 9mm bullets were found in the pocketof a jacket in his checked luggage at the Indira Gandhi InternationalAirport (IGI), a senior airport official said.
Encarnacion, a Harlem police officerfrom the New York Police Department (NYPD), had alighted from a NewYork flight at 1.30 am on March 11 and was headed to Pune to meet hisnewly-wedded wife on an Air India flight, scheduled for 11 am. It waswhen his luggage was passing the X-Ray machine to be loaded on theAir India flight that airport authorities noticed the three livebullets.
Officials wondered how Encarnacion wentpast US immigration with the live bullets in his luggage. "How didhe manage to go past US airport scanners with the live bullets in hisluggage," a senior official asked. Encarnacion was presented before a Delhi court on March 11, which granted him bail the same day.
Dismissing US media reports that the UScop's arrest was in retaliation to the arrest and strip-search ofDevyani Khobragade, India's then deputy consul general in New York,an official said: "If someone is carrying bullets in his baggage,it is against Indian law. There is a procedure to be followed in suchcases. This is a standalone case, it has nothing to do with the Khobragade case," the official said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGIAirport) M.I. Haider said that Delhi International Airport (P)Limited (DIAL) officials upon noticing the bullets in the luggage immediately called up the airport police and kept Encarnacion'sluggage in custody.
Officials asked Encarnacion, who isaround 35, to open his luggage and show the bullets. He was alsoasked for an explanation.
"When Encarnacion failed to give us asatisfactory reply for having the bullets in his luggage, he wasarrested under the Arms Act. To carry arms and live cartridgeswithout a licence and permission of the authorities during travel isan offence. The Arms Act is for same for everyone. It does not matterif the person is Indian or a foreigner," said Haider.
The New York Post has termed the arrestas India's "revenge for Nannygate". Encarnacion has been barredfrom leaving India until his next court date April 19, the Post said. —IANS
"Encarnacion was booked undersections 25/54/59 of the Arms Act and produced before Patiala Housecourt," Haider said.
It said a security officer at the airport snarled, "You guys like to strip-search our diplomats,"as Encarnacion was arrested on felony charges under India's Arms Act,punishable by anywhere from three to seven years.
Khobragade's arrest and strip-search for alleged visa fraud and underpaying her nanny led to a bitterstand-off in Indo-US ties that ended with her recall to India last October. India retaliated by getting a US diplomat of similar rank sent back to the US.