Lankan visitor sends cops into tizzy

An innocuous visit to meet his former flame in Bengaluru landed a 35-year-old Sri Lankan national behind bars while security officials went into a tizzy.

Joel Nirushan Samuel’s plan to get a non-encumbrance certificate from a local church with the help of his former lover in Bengaluru turned out to be a dangerous gamble, as the Sri Lankan was branded a ‘suspect’ and arrested by the immigration officials for holding a fake passport.

Sources in the immigration department told DH that Samuel arrived in Bengaluru on April 28 at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) from Ukraine via Doha on a Qatar Airways flight.

Detained

He was detained following a lookout circular issued by the Assistant Director, Sri Lankan Cell, Intelligence Bureau headquarters in New Delhi, for possessing a fake Indian passport.

According to the FIR, a copy of which is with DH, Samuel’s real name is  Irisaha Trinty Pereira. “While the Lankan passport bore the date of birth as 29 May 1983, the fake Indian passport produced by him at the time of arrival revealed his date of birth as 7 November 1981,” stated the FIR.

Following a high alert issued by both the Indian and Sri Lankan governments and a lookout notice by the Sri Lankan officials, Samuel was detained over the fake passport. The Internal Security Department (ISD) and National Investigative Agency (NIA) subsequently arrested Samuel assuming him to be a ‘terror suspect’ with possible links to the serial blasts that tore through the island nation last month.

But the sleuths were in for a shock as they discovered that he was neither a terror suspect nor had any role in the attacks.

Much to their dismay, the detainee was indeed Samuel and possessed only one Indian passport, which had expired. Later, Samuel was handed over to the KIA officials for further interrogation.

An investigating officer presented a different account claiming him to be an Indian national in an affair with a Sri Lankan girl. “Settled in Kiev, Ukraine, he was having a living-in relationship with a Sri Lankan girl. She wanted him to get a non-encumbrance certificate from India to prove that he is unmarried,” he said.

According to police officials, Samuel’s former girlfriend residing in Bengaluru promised him to get a certificate and he arrived in Bengaluru on her assurance only to get caught for having an expired passport. “He has been remanded to judicial custody currently,” the officer revealed.

Interrogation by the Bengaluru police has also revealed that he was previously arrested in a fraud case in Ukraine. The KIA police have written to the Ukranian embassy to provide more details about him. The police also clarified that he was not Pereira but Samuel.  

Kala Krishnaswamy, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-East), told DH that the accused had been providing various reasons for his arrival. “He revealed to us that he has come to do business in Bengaluru. But when we asked for details, he does not know anything. We are investigating the matter further,” the DCP said.

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