‘I was victim of fraudulent use of residential visa in Riyad’ – M.K. Chandrashekar

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‘I was victim of fraudulent use of residential visa in Riyad’ – M.K. Chandrashekar

Mangaluru: M.K. Chandrashekar, 32, a native of Kadaba taluk of Dakshina Kannada, said he had to undergo seven months of imprisonment in Riyad for not informing authorities about the misuse of his residential permit (Iqama).

Talking to reporters in Mangaluru on Thursday following his return after being cleared in the case,  Chandrashekar, who worked as a machine operator in a company in Riyad, said he got a call from a local police station on November 27, 2022, and was asked to come with regard to transactions in his bank account.

He went to the police station and told them about his account in Alinma Bank. The account in which fraudulent transactions were carried out was not his account.

Chandrashekar then went to Alinma Bank. “There, I found another account had been opened in my name using my Iqama details and with a different mobile number. Fraudsters based in a foreign country had opened the account and used it to defraud a Saudi resident of 22,500 riyals.”

In 2022, Chandrashekar said he received an SMS on his mobile phone that resembled the one from his bank. “I had clicked on that link and then closed it. This action has led to fraudsters gaining access to Iqama and other details stored in my mobile phone, which was used to open another account.”

On a complaint by the Saudi resident, Chandrashekar was arrested. The local court found Chandrashekar guilty of not disclosing the misuse of Iqama and was sentenced to seven months imprisonment and imposed a fine. “I served the sentence and also paid the fine,” Chandrashekar said.

After release from prison, Chandrashekar said he was in the custody of the local police.

To get Chandrashekar deported to India, his mother in Kadaba sought the help of the president of Endosulfan Virodhi Horata Samiti K. Shridhar Gowda.

Gowda said he could not get much help from elected representatives and the Indian Embassy.  Gowda then got in touch with Arun Kumar, a native of Madikeri, Prakash Amin, a native of Udupi, and Francis, a native of Kundapur, who are in Saudi Arabia. These three helped Chandrashekar pay off 22,500 riyals to the Saudi resident and also hasten the process of getting clearance from the police to fly down to Mangaluru.

Chandrashekar flew down to Mangaluru on November 20.

Chandrashekar said he learnt the hard way about the misuse of Iqama. “Because of the complaint against me, I have been barred from entering Saudi Arabia for five years,” Chandrashekar said and added that he is hopeful of finding a new job.

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