An FIR was registered Monday against a former sub-inspector (SI) of the Border branch of the Assam Police — a special wing that deals with detection of suspected illegal foreigners residing in the state — for preparing an allegedly fabricated report against a retired serviceman, Md Sanaullah, in 2008-09 which led to him being declared an “illegal foreigner” last month and subsequently arrested.
Three persons who were named as witnesses in the 2009 report by SI Chandramal Das registered police complaints Sunday alleging forgery of signature and fabrication of statement by Das to frame Sanaullah as a “foreigner”, officials said on Monday.
Additional SP, Kamrup, Sanjib Saikia, told The Indian Express, “An FIR has been registered at Boko police station based on the complaint by the three witnesses that the investigating officer (Das) did not take their witness (as he claimed in his report) and had forged their signatures.”
Sanaullah, 52, retired as a Subedar with the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) of the Indian Army in August 2017, after serving in insurgency-affected areas of Jammu-Kashmir and the Northeast. He had joined the army on May 21, 1987 and in 2014 awarded the President’s Certificate. Post retirement, he joined the Border wing of the Assam police as a sub-inspector in Kamrup (rural) district after qualifying the requisite tests.
After investigating him as a suspected illegal foreigner in 2008-09, the Border wing of the state police put a “reference” case against him at a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT). The basis of the “reference” to the FT was the afore-mentioned interrogation investigation report by Das.
Amjad Ali, Md Kuran Ali and Md Sobahan Ali — all residents of Kalahikash village under Boko police station of Kamrup district from where Sanaullah hails – were put as witnesses I, II and III in the 2009 inquiry report (dated 27.7.09) by the then SI (Border) Chandramal Das. In their statement, the trio had said separately that they were bonafide local residents while Sanaullah was not and that they did not know anything about Sanaullah’s citizenship.
Sanaullah received a notice to appear in the case last year and lost it on May 23. Five days later he was taken to a detention centre for illegal migrants in Assam’s Goalpara district. The FTs – 100 across the state – are quasi-judicial bodies meant to “furnish opinion on the question as to whether a person is or is not a foreigner within the meaning of Foreigner’s Act, 1946”.
In their complaint to the officer-in-charge at the Boko police station on Sunday, the trio submitted three separate complaints in Assamese stating the witnesses was fictitious, that their names were included without their permission, and that their signatures were fake.
Kuran Ali, 65, told The Indian Express, “I have never met this police officer (Das). In 2008-09, I used to stay in Guwahati since I was employed with the Water Pollution Control Board from 1981 to 2014 – he could not have met me here. It’s completely false. He fabricated the witness of all three of us and hence we lodged the police complaint. We will go to court and say the same if need be. I know Sanaullah’s family, their house is around a kilometer away from mine.”
The Indian Express reported last week how the family and lawyers of Sanaullah had pointed out multiple anomalies in Sanaullah’s purported confession, attached in the investigation report, and alleged it to be completely fabricated.
Sanaullah in this “confession” says that he was born in Dhaka in Bangladesh. “As per my knowledge, I was born at village Kasimpur of Dhaka district in Bangladesh. I do not remember the name of police station.I am an illiterate person, I have not cast my vote till date,” part of the alleged confession reads in Assamese.
The report describes Sanaullah as a “labourer” — when he was serving in the Army; calls him “illiterate” and gets the names of his children wrong. Moreover, as Sanaullah submitted to the FT during the case, he had never met the police officer and on the day of the supposed interrogation — May 23, 2008 and July 27, 2009- he was “in active service in Counter Insurgency Area (OP HIFAZAT, Manipur)”.
Das is now retired. Multiple calls to his mobile phone went unanswered Monday morning. On Friday, he had appeared — with his back to the camera — for an interview on a local television channel NewsLive and said, “The person whose interrogation I had done is not the person who has been taken to detention camp now. The report was written by me, in my hand-writing. The Sanaullah whose thumb impression I had taken is not this Sanaullah. The person I am now seeing on TV, I have never seen him before.”
The FT order is based on, among other factors, supposed inconsistencies in Sanaullah’s age and that of his relatives, differences in spelling of certain names, and absence of certain documents. On the other hand, his lawyers say, the order overlooks documents like voters’ list of Sanaullah, educational certificates, his passport, his service documents from the Indian Army.
Sanaullah was discharged from his job with the Assam police soon after his arrest. As he remains lodged in the detention centre, his lawyers have appealed Gauhati High Court against the detention and they are hopeful of a listing soon.