Gujarat residents under scanner in ‘donkey flight’ incident


Ahmedabad, Dec 30 : A team of Ahmedabad Police has been questioning 20 Gujarat residents in connection with its probe into suspected illegal immigration network, an official said on Saturday, adding that those being questioned were onboard the ‘donkey flight’ that was grounded earlier this month in France.

These individuals were aboard a Nicaragua-bound flight, which was rerouted from France amid human trafficking suspicions. The Airbus A340, after being halted in France, landed in Mumbai in the early hours of December 26.

Among the passengers, at least 60 hailed from Gujarat and have since returned to their native places.

The ongoing investigation by the police aims to determine if they had intentions of illegally entering the US after arriving in Latin America.

The statements of these passengers, who claimed to be tourists, are being thoroughly scrutinised.

A senior official said that the CID has been verifying the documents of these individuals to confirm their authenticity and to investigate any possible forged documentation used for the journey.

The passengers’ financial transactions are also examined to establish if their travel expenses align with those of regular tourists.

Throughout the course of the ongoing probe, the passengers have maintained that their travel was “purely for tourism”.

A source in the know of the things said that officials were exploring every aspect of this case, noting the “challenge in extracting concrete information” from the individuals questioned.

The journey, initially undertaken by a Romanian charter company, Legend Airlines, was interrupted by French police during a technical stopover in Vatry, near Paris.

French authorities have since initiated a judicial investigation into the trip’s purpose, with a special unit for organised crime leading the probe.