The Odisha state crime branch and the intelligence wing have started an investigation into the whereabouts of 27 tourists, who have gone missing in Saudi Arabia. All the tourists had allegedly obtained passports from the Bhubaneswar regional passport office in Odisha.
Sources said the Odisha CID, Crime Branch and Intelligence wing have sought information from the Bhubaneswar regional passport office after receiving information from the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad.
However, the Odisha Police DG has clarified that according to his sources, the tourists had got their passports issued from Kolkata and not Bhubaneswar.
The incident came to light after a Mumbai-based travel agency that had organised the trip, informed the matter to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad. Sources said the missing tourists were from Bengal and had been to Saudi Arabia on a 45-day tourist visa. However, after the tourists didn’t check in to the designated hotel in Saudi Arabia after 3 days, the Kolkata tour operator informed its branch in Mumbai.
Though the Bhubaneswar regional passport office authorities remained tight-lipped about the incident, they suspect that the 27 tourists from West Bengal had submitted forged documents to obtain passports.
The regional passport office sources said the tourists must have provided forged documents during the process, even during the police investigation.