Mangaluru Blast: ‘Never Imagined…’, Says Rly Worker Whose Identity Was Stolen; Lost Aadhaar Card Twice

Railway employee Premraj Hutagi had never stepped inside a police station in his life, but a phone call on Saturday changed everything. The main accused in the Mangaluru pressure cooker blast case allegedly stole his identity, which led police to his doorstep.

Karnataka director general of police Praveen Sood gave a clean chit to Hutagi after his investigating team confirmed that he had no links to the incident.

According to police, Hutagi, who is working as a trackman in Tumakuru division of the railways for the past three years, lost his Aadhaar card twice in two years. He last lost it six months ago while travelling between Tumakuru and his hometown Hubballi, he told police who tracked him after an Aadhaar card with his name was found on the blast accused in Mangaluru.

The card’s loss did not worry Hutagi much as he immediately raised a complaint on the Aadhaar website and applied for a new one.

“I did not report it to the police as I had the unique ID number with which I got my new card printed. I lost the card the first time when I was travelling by bus to my hometown. The duplicate that was issued to me was also lost in transit. I never imagined that my name and the card will be misused to this extent. I am shocked and have given the police all the information they wanted,” Hutagi told News18 over the phone.

Hutagi received a call from a police official from Tumakuru around 7.30 pm on Saturday, asking if he had lost his Aadhaar card. On confirming that he had indeed lost it, the cop asked him details about his family in Hubballi. It was only when the official asked him to furnish all documents to prove his identity along with photographs, did Hutagi realise that the matter was not as simple as a misplaced Aadhaar card.

“I got to know about the explosion from the police. I also received a call from ADGP Alok Kumar with whom I shared all details. I have been in constant fear since then; I have done nothing and am innocent,” the railway employee said.

Police also visited Hutagi’s parents in Huballi’s Keshavpura, based on an address mentioned on the Aadhaar card. His father Maruti Hutagi corroborated the incident involving the loss of his son’s Aadhaar cards.

Police said the Mangaluru blast suspect used Hutagi’s Aadhaar card to rent a house in Mysuru’s Metagallli police station limits and used the place to prepare homemade bombs as part of his plan to conduct attacks in Karnataka.

“The accused Shariq was carrying a fake Aadhaar card as his identity card. This was traced to Premraj Hutagi in Tumakuru, who had twice lost his Aadhaar card. This is a classic case in how people should be careful with their identity and related documents. If you lose them, you must lodge a police complaint immediately. Such documents can be misused and, in his case, we can see how grave the situation is,” DGP Sood told News18.

He added: “In fact, the Karnataka Police also has an app where you can declare lost documents online. There is no need to visit a police station.”

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