Dubai Police help man who spent 31 years as illegal return home

Detention of 67-year-old for flouting residency laws was limited to 20 days contrary to consulate official’s earlier claim of lengthy incarceration

Dubai: An Indian man who was living in the UAE illegally for the past three decades is finally going home with the help of Dubai Police.

The 67-year-old man, Vasudevan Madava Panicker, was arrested in October last year and was sentenced to 20 days for violating the residency law, according to a police statement sent to Gulf News on Sunday.

The statement was issued in response to reports citing the Indian consulate, which claimed that Panicker was jailed since 1987 for illegally staying in the country following the cancellation of his visa that year.

“On the 25th of October 2017, he was sentenced to a fine of Dh2,000 and deportation. As he could not pay the fine, he was jailed only for 20 days and was set free on the 7th of July 2018,” the Dubai Police statement said.

It said the Indian consulate was approached to issue necessary ID and travel documents for the man. Due to his inability to identify any relatives, the process of issuing his official travel documents was delayed, it pointed out.

“Finally, the Indian consulate managed to verify his identity and provided his travel documents on 3rd of July 2018. Mr Panicker will have to be provided with a travel ticket by the Indian consulate to facilitate his return to his home country.”

Earlier, reports quoted Sumathi Vasudev, consul (consular and labour) at the Indian mission as mistakenly saying that Vasudevan had been languishing in Al Aweer jail in Dubai for overstaying illegally following the cancellation of his visa in 1987. According to her, there was no document available to verify the date of his arrest or when his jail term had ended.

When contacted on Sunday, the consulate official admitted that the application for the emergency certificate (the travel document commonly known as out-pass) for Vasudevan had in fact mentioned the date of his detention as October 19, 2017. However, she said that particular application was inadvertently not available in the file of Vasudevan she had with her.

“I got it only now. That shows he was not in prison for decades, but was staying illegally for decades.”

Admitting that Vasudevan had been detained only since October last year, the diplomat regretted the error.

According to her, the emergency certificate was issued to Vasudevan after a man identified him as his brother on seeing the former’s photo in the report given by the consulate in the Indian newspaper Malayala Manorama.


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