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Patel quizzed at Chicago airport; US apologises
Published on 30 Sep. 2010 12:27 AM IST
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In a bizarre case of mistaken identity, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel was stopped and questioned by US authorities at the Chicago International Airport.
All because the US has on its watchlist a man with the same name and date of birth as Patel. What’s worse they didn’t believe him when he said he is a minister in the Indian government because he was carrying a personal passport not a diplomatic one.
It was only after the Indian consulate had to intervene to allow Patel to proceed to Montreal where he’s attending an international conference. Airport authorities were not expecting the VIP as a sudden change in the minister’s plans caught them unawares. Patel was questioned at O’Hare. He was not carrying a diplomatic passport but a personal one. So when he did tell the authorities there that he was a minister in the Indian government, it did not work. The Indian consulate in Chicago had to intervene and phones had to be worked before he was allowed to proceed.
“I am in Montreal, nothing serious has happened...There is a person with a similar name and birth date, that is why they double-checked,” Patel told The Indian Express.
US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano apologised to Civil Aviation minister for the misunderstanding at the O’Hare airport.

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