“Will you please meet me next morning? I am absolutely exhausted after being with the police for more than 24 hours.” This is what the 42-year-old husband of Sridevi Pujari told an HT reporter on Wednesday, at 1am, outside the Sahar police station.
The Borivli-based Pujari family, had a harrowing experience after being detained by the Mumbai and Mangalore police for 30 hours, after the police erroneously identified his wife as the spouse of gangster Ravi Pujari.
The family now plans to ask for compensation for the ordeal they went through. “I have spoken to the assistant commissioner of the Mangalore police to compensate us for our losses. We had spent Rs63,000 for tickets, Rs20,000 on visas and another Rs2,000 on insurance. I am sending an email to them shortly,” he said.
They family have also requested the Mangalore police to clear the lookout circular (LOC) issued for Sridevi and her 16-year old son.
Sridevi’s husband said the family had no plans of taking any legal action right away. “The priority now is to recover from the ordeal we had to undergo because of a case of mistaken identity,” he said.
In 2005, Padma Pujari, wife of Ravi Pujari was booked in a fake passport case, after which she was arrested by the Mumbai crime branch. After getting bail, she allegedly fled the country, using a bogus passport.
The Mangalore police, however, were convinced that Sridevi and her 16-year-old son were the gangster’s family.
On Monday evening, the Pujaris went to the Mumbai international airport to commence their journey to Dubai. “My 16-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter were the most excited, as they were going abroad for the first time. But it turned into a nightmare, when the immigration department stopped my wife and my son and asked them to stand outside the queue,” the man said.
“When my wife asked the immigration department why they were being singled out, they were told there was a problem with their passports and the Mumbai police would be at the airport shortly.”
The man claimed his family was grilled by the police, and his children were left traumatised by the incident.
Many of their relatives had to come to the Sahar police station with documents, such as birth certificates of the entire family, work and education details, to prove they were in no way related to the fugitive gangster.
Sridevi, who used to live in Andheri before her marriage, had her parents’ address printed on her earlier passport. A few years ago, she got her passport renewed, this time to her present Borivli address. Her 16-year-old son’s passport was issued in 2012.