The three Chinese nationals who were detained by the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) on this side of the Indo-Nepal border on January 17 were sent to 10 days judicial custody by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bahraich on Friday. The three have been identified as Lui Yang, Chen Rang and Li Jui Dang.

ADG ( Law and Order ) Brij Lal told reporters they have been booked under the Foreigners Act and Passport Act. Mr. Lal said that during the period of their remand, they will be interrogated by different agencies, including the Bahraich police.

Giving details, the UP police official said that Mr. Li's visa was valid till February 20, 2011 but on November 20, 2010 he went to Nepal and when he re-entered Indian territory in Rupaidiha he did not have a valid document. Mr. Lal said a PAN card (number AFRPL 7228K) was recovered from Mr. Jui “in which he had wrongfully projected himself as an Indian national". The officer said the income tax authorities have been asked to verify the documents.

Mr. Lal said Mr. Chen's initial Indian visa was valid till December 23, 2009 and his second was issued on March 9, 2010 and was valid till May 9, 2010. "When they re-entered Indian territory, they did not have valid documents,” the UP police official added. Mr. Chen was employed as a project director in a Chinese company, Huwaei Technologies.

In Delhi, senior officials cautioned against speculation that the three might have been involved in espionage. “Preliminary investigations have revealed that their story of inadvertently crossing the border is probably correct. But the legal and investigative formalities have to be completed before they can be deported back to Nepal”, a official told The Hindu. The three are working with a telecom company in Nepal and were visiting Nepalganj. Suspicions were aroused because of the fact that they were taking photographs, the official said.

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