Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court on Monday ordered the release of a senior official of the Stamp and Registration Department of Uttar Pradesh observing that his arrest here in connection with a fraud case could have been "a case of mistaken identity" even as it ordered an inquiry to verify it.

Justice Pankaj Mithal ordered the release of Ashwani Kumar, currently posted as the DIG(Stamp) at Lucknow, "subject to his furnishing personal bond of Rs 25,000 and two sureties of the like amount before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Allahabad".

Kumar was arrested from Georgetown police station area of the city on Saturday night, following a direction issued by the High Court on May 21 for the arrest of three erstwhile directors of Tathagat Small Scale Industries Ltd, a now-defunct company, charged with having "defrauded innocent depositors" way back in the 1990s.The three ex-directors are Ashwani Kumar, R B Shakya and Manju Shakya.

Appearing on behalf of the DIG (Stamp), his counsel Arun Kumar Gupta informed the court that his client "was never the director of the company in liquidation and this fact has come on record but even then he has been arrested, whereas the director of the company is some other person with the same name".

Gupta also pointed out that earlier a warrant had been issued against Kumar because of the same confusion but it was "kept in abeyance" by a court order passed on October 09, 2006.

The court remarked "it may be a case of mistaken identity but at this stage it can not be conclusively said that Ashwani Kumar who is present in court is not the same person who happens to be one of the directors of the company in liquidation. The possibility of both being one and the same person cannot be ruled out".

 "The Senior Superintendent of Police of Allahabad is directed to make an inquiry about the identity of ex-director of the company in liquidation, named Ashwani Kumar, and also as to whether Ashwani Kumar arrested by him is the same person who at one time was the director in the company in liquidation", the judge said.

A report in this regard, after thorough investigation, shall be submitted before the court in a sealed cover within a period of six weeks", the court added.

"It is made clear that arrest of aforesaid Ashwani Kumar at this stage and his being in jail would not affect his service adversely as on date subject to final order to be passed in this regard.