**Bhubaneswar:** Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was on Friday evening handed over to Indian High Commission officials at Pakistan’s Wagah border.
From there, Abhinandan alongwith the High Commission representative was escorted by Pakistan Rangers to Attari integrated check-post (ICP) in Punjab on the Indian side.
It was after exchange of some documents between Pakistan Rangers and Border Security Force (BSF) Abhinandan stepped on the Indian soil at around 9:30 PM and later handed over to IAF authorities.
Briefing mediapersons Air Vice Marshal RK Kapoor said, “Wing Commander Abhinandan has just been handed over to us. As per standard operating procedure of the Indian Air Force he will now be taken for a detailed medical check-up. This check-up is mandated particularly because the officer has had to eject from an aeroplane which would have put his entire body under great stress. IAF is happy to have Abhinandan back.”
Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Shivdular Singh Dhillon said the Pakistan authorities brought him to the check post and just now he has crossed the Zero Line.
Asked why the return was delayed, he said it was not a very long time. He was brought there half an hour ago after documents were done he was handed over to BSF authorities.
“We are happy that he is back in the country,” he said adding that probably Abhinandan’s return got delayed “on the way”.
At around midnight Abhinandan reached Delhi, where an enthusiastic crowd had gathered outside the Palam airport to welcome him.
Abhinandan, the IAF pilot, was captured in Pakistan on February 27 after his MIG-21 Bison fighter jet was shot down during a dogfight near the Line of Control (LoC).