Udupi, July 16, 2016: Sameer Ahmed (19), from Roshan Mohalla in Murudeshwar, was arrested and transported to West Bengal where he was detained in Cooch Behar district jail for three months in what now appears to be a case of mistaken identity.
At the time of his arrest, the police and the CID believed he was behind the kidnap of a girl in West Bengal. Later they realised that the kidnappers could have cloned his cellphone to make the ransom calls. Sameer, who was arrested on April 4, was released on bail on July 11. He has filed a complaint with the KSHRC.
‘Perpetrators had cloned Sameer’s SIM card’
On April 4, the police knocked on the doors of Sameer Ahmed’s house at Roshan Mohalla, Murudeshwar. The 19-year-old had just given his pre-university exams and was looking forward to the long summer holidays ahead.
The police told him to accompany them to the local Honnavar station and then promptly handed him over to a CID officer. Sameer didn’t know then that he would see his family only three months later.
In what appears to be a case of mistaken identity, Sameer spent 90 days imprisoned in Cooch Behar district jail in West Bengal on the charge of kidnapping a girl. It turned out that the actual perpetrators had cloned his cellphone’s SIM card to lead the police astray. And it worked.
It was only through the intervention of a Bengaluru NGO, Member of Movement for Justice, that Sameer was able to get bail on July 11. He reached Bengaluru on Friday and filed a complaint with the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission.
Narrating his ordeal, Sameer, youngest son of Ahmed Abul Kader, a visually impaired man, said the police showed him a photograph of a girl and asked him where she was.
“When I told them I didn’t know her, the police told me that the girl has been kidnapped and the father had received the call from my number and his daughter had spoken to him,” Sameer said, quoting the police. “The police told me that the kidnappers had even spoken to the father of the kidnapped girl in Bengali, but I told them I didn’t know the language.”
The number that the kidnappers had used did indeed belong to one of his brothers who had left the country to work as a labourer in Dubai last year. The latter had given the phone to Sameer. “I was using the phone very rarely, but before I was arrested, I received around six calls from a person who was speaking to me in another language, which I now realise is Bengali,” he told The Hindu .
CID official Sapna Ghosh, who secured his custody, said the arrest was made on the basis of a habeas corpus filed by the girl’s father alleging that he received a call from his daughter from the number belonging to Sameer. “After detailed questioning, I realised that it could be a case of SIM cloning, and submitted before the court that Sameer is not involved, based on which he was bailed out,” Sapna Ghosh told The Hindu .
The Ahmeds spent around Rs. 1 lakh trying to get answers to their son’s arrest. Now that his summer break is over, Sameer hopes to return to college.