Crew members discovered a defused grenade in an Air India plane designated as a back-up for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his recent US visit, reports said on Saturday.
The Air India Boeing 747 crew found the grenade in the business class section of the aircraft late on Friday and reported it to security officials on landing at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, according to the reports.
An Air India official would only confirm to AFP that “a suspicious object was found on the plane,” which turned out to be “harmless”.
“A committee has been formed to probe the matter and everything will be clear after further investigation,” said the official, who did not wish to be named.
The State-run Air India flight was an emergency standby plane for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his maiden five-day United States of America, USA visit that began on 26 September.
The plane had been parked at New Delhi’s international airport since Modi’s departure and was only released on Friday for commercial flying after the leader returned to India late Thursday.
The Indian Express daily quoted an unnamed Air India official as saying that the object was a “plastic casing” of a grenade which was used during “anti-terror drills” on the plane.
The scare comes after the US Federal Aviation Administration, FAA stripped India of its top safety rating, citing a lack of safety oversight.
The FAA decision in January was based on an audit last year of the country’s aviation regulator that found 31 issues of concern, including a shortage of well-trained inspectors to carry out safety checks