Dubai mission trashes ‘missing passports’ reports

April 29th, 2008 - 11:27 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, April 29 (IANS) The Indian consulate in Dubai has dismissed as “baseless and scurrilous” reports appearing in a Kolkata-based English daily that the mission was involved in a case of 500 passports gone missing. “The Telegraph newspaper based in Kolkata, in its issues of April 28, 2008, and April 29, 2008, has carried reports in which certain baseless and scurrilous allegations were made against the Indian Consulate in Dubai,” the consulate stated in a press release Tuesday.

Stating that the reports have deliberately and maliciously perverted an incident of March 2007 to tarnish the consulate and its officers, the statement said the allegations contained in the reports have no basis whatsoever.

According to the consulate, factual information with regard to the case was provided in parliament Sep 5 last year by Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed in response to a question in the Lok Sabha.

In his reply, the minister stated that 500 ordinary passport booklets sent by the India Security Press, Nasik, through Speed Post to the diplomatic bag section of the Ministry of External Affairs for onward dispatch to Indian missions abroad, were stolen at the Palam Airport in New Delhi.

The consulate release stated that the minister further informed parliament that Delhi Police had recovered 467 passport booklets, while 33 others were still missing.

Even as Delhi Police were making efforts to trace the remaining 33 passport booklets and to arrest the culprits, the ministry of external affairs had revoked all 33 missing passport booklets to prevent misuse.

Parliament was further informed that, in future, all consignments of travel documents originating from the India Security Press would be designated as sensitive material and the Department of Posts would ensure greater vigilance till their receipt by the consignee.

A software system was also being developed to track and monitor movement of travel documents, with automatic alarm generation provision for non-receipt of consignment within the stipulated time, the consulate release said.

“Thus, the following points may be noted: no passports are missing from the Consulate General of India in Dubai and no inquiry has been carried out with regard to any missing passports,” the mission categorically stated.

“Again, no official of the consulate has been transferred because of any security lapse. Further, there is no evidence of any passport belonging to the consulate being sold for any amount and no passport applications are missing.”

Stating that the reports were a deliberate attempt by vested interests to undermine the functioning of the consulate and tarnish the reputation of its officials, the consulate said that it intended to take up the matter strongly with the editor of the newspaper.

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