27 Pilgrims Issued Passport From Bhubaneswar, Went Missing In Saudi Arabia, ATS Investigating

**Bhubaneswar: ** 27 pilgrims, who had gone to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for Haj pilgrimage went missing, prompting the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad to launch a probe into the issue.

Notably, their passports were issued from Bhubaneswar, according to reports.

A travel agent, who had obtained visa for the pilgrims, reported to the ATS that they did not reach their Jeddah hotel even three days after reaching the city. The pilgrims belonged to West Bengal, and had travelled to Saudi Arabia via Mumbai.

“It is not possible for any resident of any other State to get their passport issued from Bhubaneswar because a number of documents are needed for the issue of passport like the Adhaar card, Pan Card, Voter ID card , or any other documet showing that he/she is a resident of Odisha. They must have provided forged documents during the process, even during the police investigation,” informed Digvijay Giri, Regional Passport Officer, Bhubaneswar.

“The ATS or the Mumbai Police have not contacted me regarding this matter,” he added.

The ATS is exploring all possibilities, as in 2014, four youths from Mumbai had disappeared after going to Iraq on a pilgrimage. Two were reportedly killed fighting for the IS and only one of them returned, having no information regarding the fourth person.

According to Benjamin, a well-known travel agent here,”Nowadays, people go for passports online. They furnish all the details in the application form online, go for a personal interview at the passport office and within weeks can avail their passports”.

OMMCOM NEWS contacted Y.B Khurania, Commissioner of Police for his reactions on this matter. He said that he is yet to get any information regarding this from Mumbai Police but he is still investigating on it.