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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Indian Embassy Secures Consular Access for 303 Indians Grounded in France

In a recent development, the Indian embassy in France has successfully obtained consular access for over 300 Indians stranded in the country. The embassy shared the update on social media, revealing that French authorities had informed them about a plane carrying 303 people, mostly of Indian origin, traveling from Dubai to Nicaragua. The aircraft had been detained during a technical halt at a French airport.

Embassy’s Swift Response and Investigation

Addressing the situation, the embassy’s statement highlighted their immediate response, with the embassy team reaching the detained plane promptly to secure consular access. The statement assured that the embassy is actively investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and ensuring the well-being of all passengers, including minors who were reported to be among them.

Legend Airlines Asserts Innocence Amidst Human Trafficking Suspicions

The Romania-based Legend Airlines, responsible for the grounded plane, vehemently denied any involvement in human trafficking. Liliana Bakayoko, a lawyer representing the airline, clarified their position in response to media reports. The Airbus A340, arriving from the United Arab Emirates, faced scrutiny at Vatry airport in France.

Legal Stand and Cooperation with French Authorities

Despite the suspicions, Liliana Bakayoko asserted that Legend Airlines had committed no offense. The lawyer stated that the airline would fully cooperate with French authorities while reserving the right to take legal action if charges were filed. Bakayoko disclosed that a private customer, whose identity remained undisclosed, had chartered the plane and held responsibility for verifying passengers’ identity documents.

Scrutiny at Vatry Airport and French Authorities’ Actions

Vatry airport, known for primarily serving budget airlines, witnessed the unfolding events. Situated approximately 150 kilometers east of Paris, near Chalons-en-Champagne, the airport became the center of attention as French authorities probed the situation.

Paris Prosecutor’s Office Raises Human Trafficking Concerns

Acting on a tip-off, the Paris prosecutor’s office raised concerns about potential human trafficking involvement. Two passengers were questioned by French police as part of the ongoing investigation. The prosecutor’s office confirmed identity checks on all 303 passengers and cabin crew, scrutinizing transport conditions and the purpose of the journey.

Notably, under French laws, border police can detain foreign nationals for up to four days initially, extendable to eight days with judicial approval, and up to 26 days in exceptional circumstances.

Legal Consequences and Ongoing Investigation

Human trafficking offenses in France carry severe penalties, with a potential sentence of up to 20 years. The situation is evolving, with French authorities continuing their identity checks and examinations. The legal proceedings will shed more light on the circumstances surrounding the grounded plane and the individuals on board.


As the investigation unfolds, the Indian embassy’s swift action and Legend Airlines’ strong denial shape a complex narrative. With legal processes underway and concerns of human trafficking, the ultimate resolution will hinge on the evidence uncovered in the ongoing examinations.

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