A Customs clearing and forwarding agent, Amber Mufti (54), spent three months behind bars all because of a typographical error by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
However, the DRI recently submitted an affidavit in the Bombay High Court accepting the mistake but does not seem interested in reprimanding the official responsible for the error.
On September 25 last year, Mufti was arrested by the DRI in connection with fraudulent export of readymade garments to claim export benefit schemes.
In the first remand application in a metropolitan magistrate's court on September 26, the DRI said Mufti was a regular Customs offender and had been arrested by DRI on two occasions in similar cases.
However, affidavits filed by Chetan Lama, assistant director of DRI, Mumbai, and A. M. Pashine, Intelligence Officer, DRI, said: "After further investigation, it is revealed that although he (Mufti) was concerned in earlier two cases of Customs fraud, one of which investigated by DRI, he was not formally arrested."
"The word arrest has been inadvertently used," the affidavit said. The DRI officials were issued notices after Mufti filed a petition before the division bench of Justice B.H. Marlapalle and Justice A.V. Mohta in June.
The affidavits, dated June 21, filed by the two officials said preparation of the remand application was a joint task of many DRI officials investigating the case.
"Circumstances under which the said error cropped up could not be pin-pointed," the affidavits said, adding the error was rectified on October 15. The DRI said that even after the error was pointed out on October 15, the magistrate deemed it fit to extend Mufti's remand.
Mufti was finally released on bail on December 23. The affidavits said this shows that Mufti had committed a serious offence meriting remand.
"Hence, it cannot be said that the above detailed typographical error had caused unnecessary detention, loss of reputation and injury to Mufti," the affidavit said.
The affidavits said the mistake occurred on part of DRI at the time of officers performing their bonafide duty.