Abu Dhabi: A passport lost eight years ago has turned an Indian expatriate into a wanted criminal, an inmate and an illegal resident in the UAE.
The bizarre turn out of events that made a fugitive out of Khan Hassan Kunji Mohammad, 57, is more complex than the intricate plot of a crime-thriller.
In February 2004 a distressed 49-year-old Mohammad took a cab to Dubai airport after his father’s death in India. At the immigration counter he realised that he had left his passport in the cab. Mohammad missed his father’s funeral.
But that was just the beginning of his ill fate. The Public Relations Officer from Kerala lost his job, his reputation and his family ties after he was falsely accused in more than 22 financial cases involving dud cheques worth Dh2.2 million.
“My passport was used to open a bank account in RAKBank, and 22 cheques were issued under my name in various business dealings. I was jailed and kept in police custody more than 15 times in various emirates for offences I did not commit. But the sad fact is I have always been a law-abiding citizen ever since I came to the UAE in 1989,” Mohammad told XPRESS.
Mohammad is still stranded as an illegal and is wanted by the Abu Dhabi police.
According to Mohammad, he reported his lost passport (A8046775) to the Bur Dubai police station soon after cancelling his trip to India. And almost after a month and a half he got a new passport issued in Dubai.
But seven months later in November 2004 he got a call from Ghusais police station asking him to report as a cheque issued in his name had bounced. “I was surprised because I have not even had a bank account in my name. I was questioned and released,” said Mohammad. It took six months for him to clear his name from the case.
In May 2005 he got another call, this time from the Rashidiya police station. His passport was confiscated until he cleared the case after numerous court appearances.
“When I went to the police station to collect my passport somewhere around August, I was taken into custody because by then there were 22 other cases in my name all over the UAE,” said Mohammad who is married with three grown-up children.
“I was living a nightmare for the nearly two years when I was carted from one prison to another in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah and was presented in various courts for financial offences which I did not commit.”
There were eight cases against Mohammad in Dubai alone. The man says he has lost count of the number of times he has been in police jails.
He was last retained by Al Ain Police in 2007. Mohammad said he lost all hope by then as he was jobless and his family relationships also became strained.
“I did not know where my passport was. I was still wanted by Abu Dhabi police. But I did not surrender and lived as an illegal surviving on odd jobs. I was just too scared to approach the court and prove my innocence,” said Mohammad. During those years, his health deteriorated and he developed heart complaints, diabetes and high blood pressure.
In 2010, Mohammad reported to Dubai police headquarters and he was handed over to Abu Dhabi police in September. He was sentenced to a year and a half in Al Wathba Prison. But after two and a half months in jail, he was released.
“I still had to clear my name from the court case and produce lab reports to prove that my signature was forged. I moved from one legal department to another, and after almost one and a half years of futile attempts, I gave up.”
But during the last amnesty early this year, Mohammad obtained his outpass from the Indian embassy, and was ready to go home. “My son was getting married on March 17. I was the happiest man on earth because I had missed my daughter’s wedding way back in 2005.”
But his happiness was short-lived. At the Aveer immigration centre, Mohammad was arrested again, and handed over to Abu Dhabi police.
He was issued a clearance letter from Abu Dhabi court in April but Dubai immigration officials say he still has a travel ban from the Al Wathba jail.
“My life has become a legal puzzle that I am unable to solve. I am going to make a final effort to leave the country by approaching the highest authorities in Abu Dhabi,” said a desperate Mohammad.
His last wish is to see his ailing mother who is 78 years and is living to see her son.