Mumbai: The fact that she had not done anything wrong kept her positive during her 27-day incarceration in a Sharjah jail in a drug frame-up case, said actor Chrisann Pereira after her return to Mumbai, wishing that nobody should go through such an experience ever.
The 27-year-old “Sadak 2” actor on Thursday met Mumbai Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar and other senior police officers and thanked them for their help which ensured her return from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Speaking to the media at the police commissioner’s office, Pereira said, “I am very happy to be united with my family, to be on my soil, just breathing in the open air. I want to make sure that I am looking at it realistically and that’s my way of going ahead now.”
Pereira was apprehended at the Sharjah airport on April 1 after drugs were found inside a memento which some persons had asked her to hand over to someone in the UAE. While she was put in jail in Sharjah, the Mumbai crime branch’s probe found that she had been framed.
“I am very much emotional, obviously, as I am returning home after four months. I went through a traumatic experience and finally met my family members,” she said, adding her mother, father, brother and “doggy” are all emotional.
Narrating her ordeal on foreign soil, Pereira said she was confused and kept wondering why she was in jail. “The fact that I had not done anything wrong kept me positive (in prison),” she said.
Pereira said those who heard her story and her fellow inmates also believed that she had nothing to do with the matter.
“Somehow that kept me going,” she said.
Pereira said she believed that the court and law there would see the truth and do whatever was right for her.
When her fellow inmates realised that she was an actor and worked in movies, some of them said finally they had an actor among themselves, Pereira said.
“It was a strange experience,” she said.
More than anything else, one had to get into the “survival” mode in the prison, she said. “You just eat to survive and sleep to survive because mentally you are at such a bad place. Not knowing what will hit you next,” she said.
The actor said she also suffered a lot due to cultural and language barriers.
“I didn’t know what they were asking me. There were other jail mates from different countries as well,” she said.
Pereira said she remained depressed as she was not able to speak to her family.
“It was very difficult, I was living with strangers altogether. I was not used to the lifestyle of that country. I don’t wish for anyone to go through this ever,” she said.
The actor said her film background also drew the attention of the prison staff.
“I was going through a tough time. Then jail officers started asking me about the movies I have acted in so that they could watch them,” said Pereira.
After Pereira’s arrest in the UAE, two of the accused, Anthony Paul and his friend Rajesh alias Ravi Bobhate, allegedly demanded Rs 80 lakh from her mother to arrange for her release.
The actor was released after the Mumbai police sent case-related documents to authorities in the UAE.
The Mumbai police in June filed a chargesheet against Paul, Bobhate and another person for allegedly framing Pereira in the drugs case.
The authorities in Sharjah had released her after the probe into the case, but she could not return here immediately due to some legal formalities.
After completion of the legal formalities, authorities in the UAE allowed the actor to leave for India.