A Queensland man has been fined 8,000 rupees (approximately $155) and released after he was detained for using a satellite telephone, which is illegal in India without prior Government permission.
- Police detected use of satellite phone and found man in possession at a yoga ashram
- Man was held in judicial custody overnight and will face court
- Charge is "not serious", man likely to be fined and released, say police
Police arrested 46-year-old Stuart Ian Scott on Wednesday after authorities detected the use of a satellite telephone at the yoga and meditation Ashram where he was staying in Uttarakhand, near India's border with China.
"We received an information that a satellite phone is being used at a place near Badrinath. After reaching there, we found a satellite phone of Thoraiya company with him," station officer Deepak Rawat yesterday told the ABC, adding that Mr Scott admitted to possessing it.
The police officer had said Mr Scott initially told arresting officers that he was unaware of India's restriction on using satellite phones, but that others in the group said he had been informed.
India's Telegraph and Wireless Act makes it illegal to possess or use certain communications devices, including satellite phones, without Government authorisation.
Customs forms require people entering India to declare if they have them, and Australia's travel advice warns that carrying or using the devices may expose people to a fine or imprisonment.
It is likely Mr Scott's apparent use of the phone was detected because it came from near a military base, and India's sensitive Himalayan border with China.
It was not clear last night how long he would stay in India.
Local media had earlier reported Mr Scott was part of a large group due to leave India on September 16.
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday confirmed the Government was assisting.
"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing assistance in accordance with the Consular Services Charter to an Australian man detained in India," the spokesperson said in a statement to the ABC.
"Owing to privacy considerations we will not provide further comment."