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105 passports had been with customs for 2 years
January, 11th 2012

It was an anonymous call that led to the recovery of a bag full of passports at the airport last month. And now, an investigation by Delhi Police has revealed that before that the bag had been lying in custom departments warehouse for nearly two years. The bag was lying in

customs' warehouse since February 2010 but it came to notice when the department got a call offering money to get the bag released.
Baggage left behind is sent to the warehouse. There is no procedure to check the baggage at that time, but if someone claims it, the bag is opened in the presence of the claimant. In December, we got a call on the landline number of the custom office and the caller specifically asked about the bag, said a custom officer who did not want to be identified.

The caller knew the bag would be opened in case he went to airport to claim it, so he offered money to the custom official.

Our officer realised something was fishy, when the caller became desperate to get the bag released. The bag was then brought from the warehouse and checked.

All of us were shocked when we saw so many passports in the bag, the officer further said.

Last week, the investigation was handed over to Delhi Police, who found the passports to be genuine.

We had written a letter to FRRO giving them details of the passports. They found out that most of them were issued from Gujarat while some were issued from Ludhiana and Chandigarh. We suspect the role of a human trafficking gang, said a senior police officer, who did not want to be named.

Police said there were a total of 105 Indian passports in the bag. Police said the baggage had come in Turkish Airline and was seized by customs as unclaimed baggage. The tag on the bag indicated that it belonged to a Gujarat resident.

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