The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Two years in jail with mistaken identity

New Delhi, Jan. 19 (PTI): A city court released a Pakistani youth who spent two years in an Indian prison after being mistaken as a drug-smuggler with a similar name.

Liyakat Ali was booked by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, which had “mistaken his identity” for a drug smuggler from across the border.

The directorate arrested three persons travelling in a car on the G.T. Karnal Road and recovered 4.9 kg of heroin from the vehicle in April 1998. One of those arrested, Rajinder Singh, allegedly disclosed that the drug consignment had been sent by Tariq Mohammed from Pakistan, it claimed.

The directorate arrested Ali on February 10, 2000, from a hotel in Daryaganj in north Delhi and claimed he was actually Mohammed staying under an assumed name.

The agency even recorded a statement in which Ali “confessed” to have sent the heroin and said he was “Mohammed moving around in the name of Ali”.

During trial, Ali told special judge R. Kiran Nath that sleuths of the directorate had “tortured” him into signing a false statement.

Ali’s father, Mohammad Anwar, wrote a letter to the Indian High Commission to trace his son and came to know about the trial. Anwar came down to Delhi and produced Ali’s identity card.

The court, convinced by the evidence, observed this was “a case of mistaken identity and that Ali was actually Liyakat Ali whose parentage and address was different from that of Tariq Mohammed”.

The court also had some harsh words for the prosecution, saying it never bothered to verify documents produced by Anwar even though they had been on record for more than a year.

The court also pulled up the directorate for not producing Ali before Singh to ascertain his identity or asking Singh to verify his photograph.

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