A Mumbai actress who was arrested in Sharjah for allegedly smuggling drugs into the UAE has been cleared of any wrongdoing, her lawyer has said.
Chrisann Pereira, 27, was detained by police on arrival at Sharjah Airport on April 1 after being found in possession of a plaque in which drugs were concealed, her family and legal counsel said at the time.
She was detained for 25 days at Sharjah Central Jail before being released on bail, on condition that her passport was kept by prosecutors until investigations were complete.
Pereira’s family in India said she travelled for an audition she was told was being shot in Dubai.
They said she was duped into carrying the trophy by two men and had no knowledge of the hidden drugs.
Her legal representative said an order issued this week by Sharjah prosecutors, which has been seen by The National, rules out any criminal act on her part.
The order states that on reviewing the documents, the criminal case was closed and the travel ban lifted.
The Indian consulate In Dubai, which has seen the court documents, welcomed the decision.
“We are in touch with her family and this will be a big relief as these cases take time,” said Bijendra Singh, Indian consular and labour officer.
“The clearance related to Ms Chrisann Pereira states that the drug case registered against her has been cleared and the travel ban has also been removed.”
Sharjah Public Prosecution has been contacted for comment.
Mohammad Al Redha, her lawyer in Dubai, told The National the order proved his client was not guilty. He said he expected she would soon travel home to India.
Pereira’s name would be removed from a blacklist barring her from leaving the country and her passport would be returned, Mr Al Redha said.
“The charge against her that she brought drugs from outside the country for smuggling has been dropped,” he said in the first interview since the order was formally received on Tuesday.
“The case is now closed. Chrisann’s name is removed from the blacklist. We have made a request to get her passport back and we should soon get a reply from the public prosecutor.
“We will then go to the Sharjah Central Jail to pick up her passport in one or two days and then she can travel.”
Investigations confirm Pereira’s story
Laboratory tests conducted on the drugs showed two plastic bags weighing a total of 41.7g contained cannabis, hemp resin, hemp extracts and poppy seeds.
Mr Al Redha said investigations confirmed she had no knowledge that the contraband was placed in a trophy she was asked to carry into the Emirates.
“From the beginning, we have said Chrisann is not guilty,” Mr Al Redha said.
“She had no bad intentions or she would not have come back into the airport to tell the customs that she had been given a package.
“The public prosecution investigated this and checked the cameras that showed that she had passed customs and then returned.
“Her story was absolutely true.”
Camera footage backs up case
Pereira had travelled to Sharjah on April 1 for an audition for a Hollywood web series being shot in Dubai.
When no one met her at Sharjah airport and she learnt there was no hotel booking, she became worried and called her family in Mumbai. They advised her to approach the police and report the trophy.
She told police that she was asked to carry the trophy minutes before the flight departed Mumbai for Sharjah.
Mr Al Redha said the camera footage at the airport confirmed his client’s statement that she returned to the airport on her own accord.
Pereira’s family in Mumbai approached the police to file a complaint against the men who tricked her into carrying the drugs.
Mumbai Police arrested two men who posed as talent scouts under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.