US cop’s arrest has nothing to do with Khobragade case: Official

April 06, 2014 - 1:30:44 am

New Delhi/New York: A New York police officer arrested at Delhi airport last month for carrying three live bullets in his luggage is out on bail, authorities in India said yesterday, 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 9 mm bullets were found in the pocket of a jacket in his checked luggage at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), a senior airport official said.

Encarnacion, a Harlem police officer from the New York Police Department, had alighted from a New York flight at 1.30am on March 11 and was headed to Pune to meet his newly-wedded wife on an Air India flight, scheduled for 11am. It was when his luggage was passing the X-Ray machine to be loaded on the Air India flight that airport authorities noticed the three live bullets..

Officials wondered how Encarnacion went past US immigration with the live bullets in his luggage. “How did he manage to go past US airport scanners with the live bullets in his luggage,” 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 US cop’s arrest was in retaliation to the arrest and strip-search of Devyani 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 such cases. This is a standalone case, it has nothing to do with the Khobragade case.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport) M I Haider said that Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd officials upon noticing the bullets in the luggage called up the airport police and kept Encarnacion’s luggage in custody. Officials asked Encarnacion, 35, to open his luggage and show the bullets. He was also asked for an explanation.

“When Encarnacion failed to give us a satisfactory reply for having the bullets in his luggage, he was arrested under the Arms Act. To carry arms and live cartridges without a licence and permission of the authorities during travel is an offence. The Arms Act is for same for everyone. It does not matter if the person is Indian or a foreigner,” Haider said. IANS