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Grounded Plane With Indians Free To Fly Out Of France, Destination Unclear

2023-12-25 01:14:45

Grounded Plane With Indians Free To Fly Out Of France, Destination Unclear

New Delhi:
A plane carrying several Indian passengers detained near Paris due to suspected human trafficking is free to leave today, a French court ruled on Sunday. But it is not clear if the plane will return to India.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. The Nicaragua-bound charter plane has 303 passengers, mostly Indians and at least 11 unaccompanied minors. An anonymous tip-off that they were potential victims of human trafficking led to its grounding at the Vatry airport when it arrived from Dubai for refuelling.

  2. French prosecutors on Sunday allowed the Airbus A340 to leave France after questioning the passengers for two days, the local prefecture said in a statement, adding that a full approval for their departure is expected today. The statement did not mention what will be their destination.

  3. Francois Procureur, head of the local bar association, said at a press conference that the passengers would be flown to India. There has been no statement from Indian authorities confirming the same.

  4. French courts have the authority to extend detention of foreign nationals held in the country on arrival. A judge can extend their detention for eight days at once and up to 26 days in total in exceptional case.

  5. The Indians were likely workers in UAE who were heading for Nicaragua on their way to the US or Canada, news agency AFP had reported quoting a source who had knowledge about the inquiry.

  6. Vatry in eastern France is about 150 km from Paris and the airport serves mostly budget airlines. The grounded Airbus A340 belongs to a Romanian charter company named Legend Airlines.

  7. The Paris prosecutor said the action came after an anonymous tip-off that some of the passengers on board the plane were “victims of human trafficking”. Two men were detained for questioning by a specialised unit.

  8. The Indian embassy in France has obtained consular access and are assessing the situation. It said it is working with the French government for the welfare of the Indian passengers.

  9. The stranded passengers were provided makeshift beds and access to toilets and showers, besides meals and hot drinks at the Vatry airport, an official said. Ten Indian passengers had even applied for asylum, reported news agency AFP.

  10. A lawyer claiming that she represents the Legend Airlines said they believed it had done nothing wrong, committed no offence “and is at the disposal of the French authorities”. She said the airline will take legal action if charges are filed.

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