Home NEWS International News Plane held over trafficking fears lands in India

Plane held over trafficking fears lands in India


A plane carrying hundreds of Indian nationals who were held for days at an airport in France over human trafficking fears has arrived in India.

The chartered Airbus A340, which had been flying from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Nicaragua, aroused suspicion during a refuelling stop.

It left with 276 passengers but 25 people including two minors remained in France after applying for asylum.

Two suspected traffickers also remain in France for further investigation.

However the two were set free by the courts.

The Legend Airlines flight landed in Mumbai early on Tuesday local time.

Photos shared by news agency ANI show several passengers sitting on plastic chairs at the Mumbai airport after the flight landed. Some of the passengers could be seen leaving the airport but BBC Marathi reports that most of them refused to answer questions from the media.

The plane had initially been prevented from leaving Châlons-Vatry Airport, about 130km (81 miles) from Paris, on Thursday after authorities received an anonymous tip-off that some passengers might be “victims of human trafficking”, Parisian prosecutors say.

Most of those aboard were believed to be Indian citizens working in the UAE. A third of the passengers are reported to be from India’s affluent western state of Gujarat.

French authorities reportedly also suspected that the people on board might have been travelling to Nicaragua before attempting to enter the US or Canada.

It was not clear whether authorities had definitively determined that no crime had been committed before allowing the plane to leave.

It is also unclear why the flight went to Mumbai instead of resuming its journey to Nicaragua.

Legend Airlines is a Romanian charter airline with a fleet of four planes, according to the online flight tracker Flightradar.