Man detained at airport due to mistaken identity

10:33 AM, Friday, December 22nd, 2017
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airportMangaluru: One change of letter in a name resulted in a nightmare for an engineer from the city working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In a classic case of mistaken identity, the city police issued a lookout notice for an innocent. Following this, Mohammed Ashfaq, 26, an engineer working in Saudi Arabia, was detained at Mangaluru International Airport, and later handed over to the police on Thursday.

Though Ashfaq, a native of Kulai in the city, was not involved in any criminal cases, a lookout notice was pending against his passport number, by oversight.

DYFI state president Muneer Katipalla, also a relative of Ashfaq, told that Ashfaq was working in Saudi Arabia for the past two years. “On Thursday, Ashfaq arrived by the Dammam-Mangaluru flight at Mangaluru International Airport in the wee hours of Thursday. Meanwhile, his parents were waiting at the airport to receive him. The moment Ashfaq arrived, officials in the Immigration section, detained him as a lookout notice was issued against his passport number,” he said.

Though his parents were eagerly waiting outside the airport, the issue was brought to their notice at around 6.30 am, said sources. “Ashfaq called his parents from the police station using another person’s phone, and informed of his plight. He was initially taken to Bajpe police station, where the police informed him that a case under IPC Section 302 (murder) is registered against him in Panambur police station. In fact, it was not Ashfaq, who was actually involved in the murder of a person identified as Prakash, that took place at Surathkal in 2012.

It was a person identified as Mohammed Ashfar, also a resident of Kulai, who was the accused, against whom a lookout notice was issued by the city police in 2016.

“The police had made a goof-up while recording his name and passport number during the process of issuing a lookout notice. As a result, Ashfaq was detained at the airport instead of Ashfar. However, he was later released, when his parents and relatives, including me, convinced them about this fact,” Muneer said. He said the city police commissioner has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the issue.

Panambur police said a major goof-up has happened because of the similarity in the names Ashfaq, Ashfar and their parents.


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