US citizens detained for flying drone in Lutyens’ Delhi

Mahender Singh Manral
Flying of drones has been banned in the capital after alerts by security agencies.

In a major security breach, a father-son duo from the US were detained Saturday evening for allegedly flying a drone fitted with a video camera in Lutyens Delhi. Officers from intelligence agencies and the Delhi Police Special Cell are questioning them.

On scanning the video, police found that they had captured footage of Central Secretariat, where the Cabinet Secretariat is housed. The drone was detected when it was flying near Rashtrapati Bhavan, said police.

According to police, the incident came to light around 6.45 pm when personnel stationed in Parakram vans at Vijay Chowk saw something suspicious flying in the air and made a PCR call.

Senior officers of the New Delhi district rushed to the spot and started to look for the operators. They found two American nationals, Peter James Lynn (65) and his son Guillaume Leadbetter Lynn (31), a senior officer said.

Explained: Where can you fly a drone in Delhi? What permissions do you need?

Flying of drones has been banned in the capital after alerts by security agencies. Recently, Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik called a meeting with all DCPs at the Delhi Police Headquarters to shared inputs received from intelligence agencies. He said there is a possibility that militant groups may carry out aerial attacks using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on dignitaries and vital installations, police said.

The duo were taken to a nearby police station for questioning. Police found that they arrived in India on Saturday and were staying in a five-star hotel at Sardar Patel Marg, an officer said.

However, the father-son claimed they didn t know flying drones is banned in Delhi. They said they were making a video for a US-based online platform and came to India on tourist visa. Peter has a visa for a month, while his son has a visa for a year, the officer said, adding that police has informed the US Embassy in Chanakyapuri and are checking their details with them.

DCP (New Delhi) Dr Eish Singhal said, Questioning of the American citizens is on. The matter is being investigated.