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300 diplomatic passports missing

The matter came to light on May 24 when over 100 blank diplomatic passports were found in a water tank and 84 more in a garbage heap in the airport premises.

delhi Updated: May 27, 2007 21:37 IST

A consignment of more than 300 blank diplomatic passports from the government's high-security printing press at Nashik in Maharashtra has been missing from the domestic airport in the Capital, police said Sunday.

The matter came to light on May 24 when over 100 blank diplomatic passports were found in a water tank and 84 more in a garbage heap in the airport premises, following which police registered a case of theft and launched an extensive probe along with the Intelligence Bureau.

Police said the consignment, meant for the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi, originally contained 500 blank diplomatic passports, which were to be sent to various Indian missions and embassies abroad. Thus, 306 such passports remained untraced.

The discovery has left the government in a tizzy since the blank diplomatic passports are liable to be misused.

Police along with the Intelligence Bureau sleuths have questioned over 150 people including some senior airport officials as well some policemen posted at the Palam Airport police station.

Police suspect the consignment might have caught the attention of some airport employees owing to the careful packaging of the passports.

Thinking that the consignment from the Nasik press might contain currency notes, some unscrupulous employee might have tampered with the packaging and might have dumped it somewhere on finding passports in it, according to a police official.

A police team has been sent to Nashik for further investigations.