Nilesh Haresh Ranani had to spend four days behind bars in Mumbai and face criminal trial for two years.
All this because of a typo in one of his immigration documents.
In the residence card issued by Guinea-Bissau Embassy in Mumbai, his father’s name, Haresh, was mistakenly mentioned as ‘Hanesh’.
After a two-year legal battle, the Bombay High Court recently quashed criminal proceeding against the 24-year-old whose career was ruined by the trial.
On July 12, 2008, Ulhasnagar resident Nilesh was going to Senegal by a Kenya airline flight when an immigration assistant at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Rupali Patil, noted the discrepancy in the residence card.
The other documents had the correct name of his father.
Patil reported the matter to her bosses.
Nilesh contacted the embassy, which immediately replied by sending an e-mail clarifying it was a typographical error.
Despite the clarification, the immigration officials lodged a complaint against him. Ultimately the Sahar airport police station booked the young man for cheating and forgery without verifying the clarification.
Two days later, his father produced a letter written by the embassy of Guinea-Bissau in India and addressed to immigration authorities in Mumbai, stating there was typographical mistake in the residence permit.
On July 15, 2008, Haresh produced another letter written by the Ambassador of India to Senegal, stating that it was a typographical error. But, the Sahar police chargesheeted Nilesh.
Nilesh challenged the proceedings before the high court, which quashed the proceeding saying: “A bare perusal of the statement of the immigration officer discloses that even if it is taken at face value, no offence is spelt out.”
The single judge bench of Justice V.M. Kanade observed: “One fails to understand as to how and in what manner the investigating agency arrived at a conclusion that the petitioner had committed an offence of forgery and cheating.”
“This is a case, where there is complete non application of mind on part of the investigating officer,” added the judge.