Bhubaneswar, March 15: After the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) now the Odisha state crime branch and intelligence wing begun its probe to trace the 27 tourists who obtained passports from Bhubaneswar and went missing in Saudi Arabia.The Odisha CID, Crime Branch and Intelligence Wing have sought information from the regional passport office in Bhubaneswar after receiving information from the Mumbai ATS. The regional Passport Office in Bhubaneswar has also been brought under the purview of the probe to find out how the tourists were able to obtain their passports from the office despite all of them hailed from West Bengal, Odisha Police DG said.
The missing tourists are from West Bengal and went to Saudi Arabia on a 45-day visa through a tour operator in Mumbai. However, after the tourists didn’t check in to the designated hotel after 3 days, the Kolkata tour operator informed its branch in Mumbai. Subsequently, the Mumbai branch informed the ATS about the missing persons. The regional passport office sources said the tourists must have provided forged documents during the process, even during the police investigation.
“There are a lot of possibilities which have to be looked into here including terror links, engagement in some kind of employment there and also stay with their relatives. This is a very serious lapse and there should at least be a checklist before giving passports,” said retired Police DG, SN Tiwari.