In a breach of protocol, former President A P J Abdul Kalam, who is exempted from security checks due to his status, was frisked by an American airlines at the international airport in New Delhi before boarding the aircraft.
The Civil Aviation Ministry has ordered a probe into the incident involving the ground security staff of Continental Airlines which subjected Kalam to security check before he was to board a Newark-bound flight on April 24.
"The incident took place on April 24 at the Indira Gandhi international airport when Kalam was travelling to the US. He was treated like an ordinary passenger," sources close to Kalam told PTI.
They said Kalam did not take up the issue with the government. "It is the airline policy to check everyone. They never listen to any Indian agency," they said. Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security is investigating the matter and action will be taken against whosoever is found responsible.
"I just got to know about the incident. We will ask for corrective action and we will ask the concerned people to apologise," Patel told media-persons in New Delhi. Describing the incident as a "normal securityprocedure", the airline Public Relations Officer Aparna said "there is no special rule for VIPs and VVIPs. This is the process the airline adheres to."