Passengers of Nicaragua flight quizzed in Mumbai

Immigration, CBI officials interrogate them after the A340 aircraft, detained in France over human trafficking allegations and let off after four days, lands; they were from Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat

December 26, 2023 07:15 am | Updated 11:32 pm IST - Mumbai

Passengers of a charter plane, which was grounded in France for four days over suspected human trafficking, arrive in Mumbai, on Dec. 26, 2023.

Passengers of a charter plane, which was grounded in France for four days over suspected human trafficking, arrive in Mumbai, on Dec. 26, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

After French authorities let it fly to India after four days of detention at the Vatry airport over allegations of human trafficking, an Airbus A340 aircraft of Romania Legend Airlines, carrying Indian passengers and originally destined for Nicaragua, landed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The flight landed around 3.30 a.m. with 15 crew members and 276 passengers, the airport officials said.

It took nearly five hours for most of the passengers to come out of the airport after clearing rigorous phases of interrogation and verification by the authorities from the Immigration Department and the Central Bureau of Investigation. A few were inside the airport till half past noon with baggage claim issues, an airport source said.

Hiding their faces behind masks, hoodies and handkerchieves, the passengers were escorted by the airport staff in small batches. They exited through two arrival lobbies (P4 and P6), while most of the presspersons were told they would be arriving at the P6 point. Some of them took the transit bus towards the domestic terminal, and one or two had airport hotel pick-up.

The only communication from the passengers the press could manage to get was that some of them were from Punjab, some from Haryana and some from Gujarat. The male passengers were more in number.

The passengers refused to entertain questions from presspersons. Some turned hostile to questions on their experience, reasons for their travel, whether they knew each other, how were they kept during the interrogation period, and where are they from, to mention a few.

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