Venu Rajamony, Consul-General of India in Dubai, writes:

The Telegraph newspaper based in Kolkata, in its issues of April 28 and 29, 2008, has carried reports in which certain baseless and scurrilous allegations were made against the Indian Consulate in Dubai. The reports have deliberately and maliciously perverted an incident of March 2007 to tarnish the Consulate and its officers.

Factual information in regard to this event was provided in Parliament: in response to a question in Parliament, Mr. E. Ahamed, Minister of State for External Affairs, informed the Lok Sabha on September 5, 2007, that 500 ordinary passport booklets sent by India Security Press, Nashik, through speed post to the Diplomatic Bag Section of the Ministry of External Affairs for onward dispatch to Indian Missions abroad were stolen at Palam Airport, Delhi.

He further informed Parliament that Delhi Police had recovered 467 passport booklets, while 33 others were still missing.

The Delhi Police are making efforts to trace the missing booklets and to arrest the culprits. In the meantime, the Ministry of External Affairs revoked all 33 missing passport booklets to prevent their misuse.

Again, in order to prevent similar mishaps, Parliament was informed that in future all consignments of travel documents originating from the India Security Press would be designated as sensitive material and the Department of Posts would ensure greater vigilance till their receipt by the consignee.

A software system was also being developed to track and monitor movement of travel documents, with automatic alarm generation provision for non-receipt of consignment within the stipulated time. Thus, the following points may be noted: no passports are missing from the Consulate- General of India in Dubai and no inquiry has been carried out with regard to any missing passports.

Again, no official of the Consulate has been transferred because of any security lapse. Further, there is no evidence of any passport belonging to the Consulate being sold for any amount and no passport applications are missing.

The allegations contained in The Telegraph report have no basis whatsoever. The reports are a deliberate attempt by vested interests to undermine the functioning of the Consulate and tarnish the reputation of its officials. We intend to take up the matter strongly with the editor of the newspaper.