Biman pilot said his passport was inside his bag
Biman Bangladesh Airlines pilot Captain Fazal Mahmud—who was denied entry to Qatar for not carrying his passport—had reportedly told Bangladesh Immigration Police that his passport was in his bag.
Md Ismail Hossain, additional superintendent of Special Branch of Immigration Police confirmed the matter on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Immigration official Sub-Inspector (SI) Kamruzzaman at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport—who let Captain Fazal Mahmud pass through immigration after only checking the General Declaration—has been temporarily suspended.
Md Ismail Hossain said: “When the immigration officer asked to check Captain Mahmud’s passport, he said it was in his bag. As Captain Mahmud was a senior pilot, SI Kamruzzaman trusted him and let him pass through immigration.”
“We always let pilots pass through immigration after checking the General Declaration and we ask for them to keep their passports with them as proof,” Ismail Hossain added.
He said: “We are both equally responsible for this mishap. Therefore, Kamranuzzaman—who was on duty for immigration that day—has been temporarily suspended. We have reported the matter to the head office as well.”
However, Captain Fazal Mahmud on Friday said everyone was in a festive mood as the day he boarded the plane was Eid day.
“If the immigration people had asked for my passport, I would not have made the mistake,” he added.
The pilot claimed that he was not held by the immigration authorities in Doha as reported in different media.
Earlier on Thursday, the Biman Bangladesh pilot—who was on his way to bring back Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina—was held at Qatar's Doha International Airport for not carrying his passport.
Captain Fazle Mahmud piloted the Boeing 787 to Qatar in order to bring back the premier, who is on an international visit to three countries. Later, his passport was sent to Qatar.
On Friday, The Cabinet Division formed a four-member probe committee to investigate how a Biman Bangladesh Airlines pilot travelled, without a passport, to Qatar; and the negligence of immigration officials at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in this regard.
The committee will also find loopholes in the working system of the Department of Immigration and Passports, according to a letter issued by the Cabinet Division that very day.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry formed another four-member probe committee—headed by its additional secretary of security services division Mohammad Azharul Haque—to investigate into the incident.