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Indian govt. official questioned at O'Hare

Sept. 29, 2010 at 1:48 AM

CHICAGO, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- An Indian cabinet minister who was interrogated Monday at O'Hare International Airport says he will get a diplomatic passport to keep it from happening again.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel was apparently mistaken for another Praful Patel, who shares the minister's birthday and is on the U.S. no-fly list, The Times of India reported.

Patel went through a similar experience some time ago in New York, the newspaper said.

Patel flew to Chicago from London to spend some time with his son before traveling to a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Meeting in New York.

"I'm in Montreal and nothing serious happened so please don't sensationalize. There is a person with a similar name and date of birth. That's why they just double checked," Patel told the Times in an electronic message from Montreal.

Sources told the newspaper Patel plans to exchange his ordinary passport for the diplomatic one he is entitled to as a minister to avoid delays in the future.

Patel is one of the most common Indian surnames.

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