Controversial Nicaraguan flight from France with over 275 Indian passengers reaches Mumbai
Mumbai: A chartered aircraft bound for Nicaragua with more than 275 passengers, mostly Indians — which was detained for four days in France over suspected ‘human trafficking’ — landed in Mumbai early on Tuesday, officials said here.
The flight, operated by a private Romanian group, was detained at Vatry Airport, a minor international airport around 150 kms from Paris, for four days, sparking an international diplomatic spat.
The service, originating in Fujairah, UAE and bound for Sandino Airport at Managua in Nicaragua, was detained and grounded on Thursday at Vatry Airport following some anonymous tips hinting at supposed human trafficking.
The French Police and legal authorities initiated a probe and placed two passengers under custody for alleged involvement in an illegal immigration racket.
Later, around 25 fliers, including two minors, said they wanted asylum in France and remained there, and earlier this week the passengers were in the process of being investigated by a judicial team from Paris.
On Monday, the two detenus were set free, and the Airbus A-340, charter flight LZ-1215 of the three-year-old Legend Airlines, Bucharate, Romania, was also cleared for take-off.
The drama started on Thursday when the flight with 303 passengers, including 11 minors, mostly Indians, made a technical halt at Vatry Airport where it was provided basic emergency services.
Amid the suspicions of an illicit immigration racket, the French authorities set up an investigation, the crew was questioned and two passengers were detained for nearly two days before release, the Indian Mission officials were also in regular touch with the passengers, as per local French media.
After the French Police and judicial authorities completed their investigations, the flight was permitted to take off around 2.30 p.m. (local time) from Vatry Airport and landed in Mumbai after 4 a.m. (IST).