Jaipur/New Delhi, Dec 28, PTI : The Indian stowaway who hid in a toilet on an Air India Haj charter flight carrying 273 passengers from Saudi Arabia was on Sunday booked under the Passport Act while the airline said the crew did not see him as a 'security threat'.
In a major security breach, 25-year-old Habib Hussain sneaked into the Jaipur-bound plane at Medina and hid into the toilet. His presence came to light about half an hour after the flight took off from Medina when a passenger went to the toilet. The aircraft arrived in Jaipur on Friday night.
Preliminary interrogation of Hussain, who has been arrested, has not revealed any intention to cause any harm, a police source said in Jaipur. He hailed from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh and was working as a cleaner at Medina airport with a Saudi ground handling company.
“Jaipur Police, ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) and SOG (Special Operation Group) of Rajasthan Police are interrogating the man and officials of Military Intelligence will also interrogate him,” the source said, adding Hussain was booked under the Passport Act.
“Investigation so far reveals that his aim was just to escape from his employer in Medina and get back home. But at the same time, this is a very serious thing which could put passengers’ lives at stake,” an official said.
Hussain managed to board the Air India flight without ticket and passport on the pretext of cleaning it.
In New Delhi, Air India said in a statement that it was ascertained that Hussain “did not pose any threat to the safety and security of the aircraft and the passengers”.
The airline said it has sought an explanation from the Medina ground handling company as to how one of its employees boarded the aircraft.
During questioning by the cabin crew, it was found that it was a stowaway case and Habib did not intend to harm anybody after which the pilot decided to continue with the flight. Hussain had a valid identity card giving him access to the security cleared zone where the aircraft was parked in Medina.
The Air India spokesperson said it was also found that Hussain was an Indian national “who was desperate to reach home as he was dissatisfied with his employment conditions”.
“We would like to reiterate that the airline has not been informed by the police authorities of any action contemplated against the crew of the flight,” he said. Habib told that he had gone to Saudi Arabia six months ago. He, through a contractor, got a job of a sweeper at the Medina airport and his employer took away his passport to ensure that he does not escape from the country.