MUMBAI: Noted academician and activist Ram Puniyani has said three policemen, claiming to be from the Maharashtra CID, visited his Mumbai home under the pretext of passport verification and tried to obtain information about himself and his family members.
However, a top official Tuesday denied that any such "inquiry" was conducted by the Crime Investigation Department (CID).
Puniyani, who used to teach Biomedical Engineering at IIT Bombay, said he doubts the real motive behind the sudden visit of the police personnel to his flat in Powai on March 9.
"Three policemen claiming to be from the CID visited my home Saturday afternoon and sought personal information about me and my family members," the former IIT Bombay professor told PTI Tuesday.
Puniyani, 73, regularly conducts seminars and workshops on themes like the threat of communal politics to democratic society, human rights etc.
The author of several books, Puniyani is the recipient of the prestigious Indira Gandhi Award (2006) and National Communal Harmony Award (2007) for his outstanding contribution towards national integration.
Puniyani said the police personnel, in mufti, gained entry into his flat claiming they are from the local police station.
"After entering my flat at the 11th floor around 2.30 pm, they introduced themselves (as personnel) from the local police station," he said.
Puniyani further said the trio told him and his wife that they had come to the flat for verification of passport application.
However, the Puniyanis have not applied for any passport. "My wife questioned their real motive saying we have not applied for any passport.
When she asked them whether they are from the CID, they nodded in agreement and tried to show us their identity cards," Puniyani said, adding that he did not check their identity.
He said the trio posed questions regarding location of the clinic of his wife and career of his children.
"They also asked me and my wife about the reasons behind I giving up my career with IIT Bombay. They also wanted to know what my children are doing, and where are they settled," he said.
Puniyani said, initially, he didn't take the trio seriously.
"But they again inquired about us from servants at the ground floor of the building," he added. Puniyani further said the trio didn't try to intimidate him and his wife, and behaved well.
"However, their motive behind the visit definitely worries us. They wanted to locate us it seems," he said.
When contacted, a top official said no such inquiry was conducted by the Maharashtra CID.
"Why will CID conduct any inquiry when we don't have any case pertaining to Puniyani?" he asked.
He said some police personnel, not from the CID, might have visited Puniyani's residence claiming they are from our department.