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IB probes Pakistan pilot's stay in Kerala hotel

By Arun Lakshman
July 03, 2010 18:42 IST
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Intelligence Bureau officials are investigating how Khan Khalid Rashid, a Pakistani pilot working for Ethihad Airlines, was allowed to leave Thiruvananthapuram airport after his flight landed on May 6, said sources.

Rashid had stayed at a five-star hotel in the city and left on the morning of May 7, said sources.

However, the IB refused to confirm whether such an investigation had been initiated.

Indian law does not permit Pakistani aircraft, Pakistani pilots or cabin crew to land in any airport in the country, except in New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkota. Pakistani crew members and pilots in other airports across the country have to stay inside the retiring rooms in the airports under strict security cover.

The Civil Aviation Department and the IB had given stringent direction to all airports in the country not to allow the free movement of any Pakistani national without prior permission. Even in cases of emergency landing, the concerned airport authorities have to take special permission from the IB before giving clearance.

But much to the chagrin of the intelligence agencies, Rashid was cleared by the authorities in Customs, the airlines and the immigration wing of the Thiruvananthapuram airport.

Sources told that Rashid had not used the vehicle designated for Ethihad Airline and had left the airport by a separate car.

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Arun Lakshman in Thiruvananthapuram