It’s been four days that Sameer Sardana has been in the custody of the Goa Police and his father in distant Dehradun is hoping “this misunderstanding will clear soon”. Sameer, the son of a Dehradun-based decorated retired major general, K N Sardana, was detained by the ATS unit of Goa Police after the railway staff found his stay in the Vasco station dormitory suspicious.
“He was in Dehradun for the past year and only moved to Mumbai a month ago. He wasn’t working full time but did these small consultancies there. He went to Goa on the weekends and stayed in the railway station retiring rooms or wherever because their fee is less,” he says. “The Goa Police found his coming to Goa four times in a month suspicious. This seems to be a case of mistaken identity.”
“But now that the Goa chief minister himself has said that they have found nothing incriminating on him, what’s the point of all this? They should let him go,” he says.
An alumnus of the Doon School, Sameer, 44, got his B.Com. (Hons) degree from the Delhi College of Arts and Commerce and then went on to become a chartered accountant. “He got a first class degree in college. He was very bright and a quiet, reserved sort,” says Sardana.
The family moved to Dehradun over a decade ago from Noida where they still have a home. Sardana, who has served as commandant of the Rashtriya Indian Military College in Dehradun, has served as principal of prestigious schools such as the Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, in Delhi and Hyderabad Public School in Hyderabad after he retired from the Army.
“My son managed to speak to me three days ago. I just hope he is treated fine and all this is resolved soon,” he says. On police reports of his son practising Islam, Sardana says, “He didn’t practise Islam but he was influenced by it. He has lived and worked in with leading companies in Indonesia and other South East Asian countries and was interested in Islam as many people born in one religion are interested in religions other than theirs. There is a novelty factor,” he says.
Meanwhile, B S Sidhu, DGP, Uttarakhand says he is in touch with his Goa counterpart. “Sameer’s police remand is till Monday so let’s see what happens then. He is also being investigated by the NIA. His activities have been found to be very suspicious.”
“He had multiple passports and four cellphones and he was found in possession of maps of Indian oil dumps and had downloaded information on manufacturing IEDS. He is not cooperating at all, he wouldn’t give the police the password to his laptop. The police cracked it and found files which are highly encrypted,” says Sidhu.
The Dehradun police, he says, has looked into his stay in the city. “His family is a straightforward one and there is no evidence of him having done anything in Dehra Dun. But his behavior in Goa has been found to be suspicious,” he says.