Bengaluru: A 46-year-old city businessman, who was on a leisure trip to Moscow, had a harrowing time after landing in the Russian capital and was deported back to India from the airport, for no fault of his. A clerical mistake committed by Passport Seva Kendra officials in his passport, where the page numbers were mismatched, led to Mr Praveen Kumar Chowhan spending time at a prison cell at the Moscow airport.
Mr Chowhan told Deccan Chronicle that he was humiliated, treated like a criminal, made to wait for over 10 hours and thrown into a jail cell with 34 other criminals, because of the negligence of officials at the Passport Seva Kendra on Lalbagh Road. “It was meant to be a leisure trip with my 16 other friends. We left Bengaluru on August 7 and reached Moscow by Air Arabia flight mid-afternoon the next day. At the immigration check, all my friends were given clearance, except me. A Russian immigration official took away my passport and said that I had to wait for some time,” he said.
“After nearly six hours, he returned to inform me that my passport was not valid as it was damaged and that he cannot let me enter the country. He said that the passport pages were not matching and they were not in a series,” Mr Chowhan said.
When Mr Chowhan escalated the issue to the Indian Embassy in Russia, asking for their intervention, one of the officials told him that he would look into it. “The Indian Embassy official too could not do anything and I was made to sit at the airport. After another five hours, the Russian immigration official walked up to me and asked me to follow him. I thought that there could be a solution to the problem, but he asked me to sit inside a 100x100 ft cell,” Mr Chowhan said.
“When I objected and said that I did not want to sit with criminals as I had not done anything wrong, the official threatened me and put me in the airport deportation cell. I was treated like a criminal and abused for three hours before they deported me,” he said.
His return flight was booked on an Air Arabia flight at 11 pm with a stopover in Sharjah. “At the Sharjah airport, I was stranded for another 17 hours with no help,” he said.
After living through the ordeal of over 50 hours, Mr Chowhan landed at the Kempegowda International Airport on Sunday night....