The middle-aged German man who has been living in the transit area of Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi for the past 54 days owing to an untoward crisis has left for Amsterdam this morning.
“The foreign national decided to book himself on a KLM flight to Amsterdam and departed early morning of May 12,” a DIAL spokesperson said.
Forty-year-old Edgard Ziebat, who is a wanted criminal in his home country landed in New Delhi from Vietnam in a VietJet Air flight as a transit passenger to Istanbul on March 18. However, India cancelled all flights to and from Turkey the same day. Four days later, India suspended all international flights in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ban on international flights left Ziebat stranded at Delhi Airport. When airport authorities contacted the German embassy, they refused to take his custody because of his criminal records in Germany and as a result, India too denied him a visa.
“After a week in the transit area, with four other stranded passengers who arrived in Delhi on different dates — two from Sri Lanka and one each from the Maldives and the Philippines — airport authorities alerted their respective embassies. While others were facilitated by their respective embassies and were quarantined, the German embassy informed the Indian bureau of immigration that Ziebat has several cases of assault and other crimes registered against him and that they won’t take his custody given that he is in a foreign land," an officer said on condition of anonymity.
With no place to go, Ziebat has been staying at the terminal with his luggage since March 18. “He has spending days reading magazines and newspapers, talking to his friends and family over the phone, eating at some of the fast-food outlets still in operation within the terminal, interacting with housekeeping and security staff, taking walks within the transit area, and using the airport’s washrooms and toilets,” said another official to HT, adding that they have been providing him with basic essentials such as a recliner, mosquito net, toothpaste, food.
“About a week ago, attempts were also made to accommodate him on a relief flight to Ankara (Turkey) but Turkish authorities turned down the proposal stating that the flight was only for Turkish nationals or for their permanent residents,” the officer said.