Why 27 Flyers Stayed Back In France As Grounded Plane Returned To India

Over two dozen passengers on board the charter plane held in France for days over suspected human trafficking stayed back despite the aircraft flying out to Mumbai after legal clearances.

Why 27 Flyers Stayed Back In France As Grounded Plane Returned To India

Over two dozen passengers on board the charter plane held in France for days over suspected human trafficking stayed back despite the aircraft flying out to Mumbai after legal clearances.

These include 20 adults and five minors who have sought asylum in France, said a local official, without identifying their nationality. Their applications would be processed at the Paris airport.

Asylum seekers can't be sent back to their country of origin under international law.

Two others questioned by the French police over suspected trafficking stayed back too, but they have received expulsion order from France, their lawyer said.

They were released after the cops were convinced the passengers had boarded the flight out of free will, reports suggest.

Their lawyer said the judge was able to "resist media pressure in this case", which led to their release.

The plane belonging to Romania's Legend Airlines landed in Mumbai early this morning with 276 passengers after a go-ahead from a French judge. It departed Vatry around 2:30 pm (local time) and reached Mumbai just after 4 am (IST).

It is not known exactly how many Indians are among the 276 passengers and what nationality are the other flyers.

The Nicaragua-bound Airbus A340 was carrying 303 passengers, most of them Indians, when it reached Vatry airport near Paris last Friday. It was grounded on its arrival from Dubai for refuelling after an anonymous tip-off that the passengers could be potential trafficking victims.

French authorities are still probing the case for immigration law violation, not human trafficking any more, reports suggest citing judicial sources.

Nicaragua in central America is a popular destination for immigrants to cross into the US illegally.

Nearly 97 lakh Indians have tried to enter the US illegally in the financial year 2023, a whopping 51.61 percent jump from the previous year as per US official data. At least 41,770 of those Indians tried to cross the Mexican land border into the US, the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) data showed.

Flights to Nicaragua or other countries where one can easily obtain travel documents are known as 'dunki' flights.