External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday met the families of eight former Indian marines who have been sentenced to death by a Qatar court. S Jaishankar told the family that the government is looking at this matter on priority. The government is making all efforts for the release of ex-marines.
After the sentencing on October 27, the Government of India had expressed surprise at this. It was said that legal avenues are being explored to free them. The Foreign Ministry had issued a statement saying that we are waiting for the details of the judgment.
Complete information about the punishment awarded to the sailors is not yet available.
Qatar government has not made public the allegations against 8 Indians. At the same time, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Hari Kumar has also given information about former Indian sailors imprisoned in Qatar. During an event in Goa, he said- The government is trying its best to free all the ex-marines. He said that the complete information regarding the punishment awarded by the court to the marines was to be handed over to us on Sunday. However, this has not happened yet.
Fear of being found guilty of espionage
After being sent to solitary confinement, it is said that he was arrested in connection with a security related crime.
Local media reports claimed that former Indian Navy officers were spying on their country for Israel. However, no facts have been presented in this either. When asked what allegations were made against him, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said in his weekly briefing in January this year that this question should be asked by the Qatari authorities.
The family and the government were not aware of the arrest for a month.
The State Security Bureau of Qatar’s Intelligence Agency had arrested 8 former officers of the Indian Navy on 30 August 2022. However, the Indian Embassy was first informed about his arrest in mid-September.
On September 30, these Indians were allowed to talk to their family members on telephone for a short time. Consular access was granted for the first time on 3 October, a month after his arrest. During this time an official of the Indian Embassy was allowed to meet him. After this these people were allowed to call family members every week. Second consular access granted in December.
Commander Purnendu, who was sentenced to death, has received Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in Qatar.
Retired Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Managing Director, Dahra Company, received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in the year 2019 for his services in advancing bilateral relations between India and Qatar. He is the only person from the Armed Forces to receive this award. At that time, the then Indian Ambassador to Doha P Kumaran and former chief of Qatar Defense Forces International Military Corporation had also welcomed Purnendu.
Worked for a company that trained naval personnel of Qatar
8 former naval personnel of India worked in a private company named Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy in Qatar. This company provides defense services. Retired Squadron Leader Khamis Al Ajami of Oman Air Force is its chief.
He was also arrested along with 8 Indian nationals, but was released in November. This company provides training and other services to the Qatar Navy i.e. QENF. The company describes itself as an expert in operating defense equipment and their repair and maintenance. Complete information about senior officers of the company and their posts is given on this website. However, the website of Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy is closed after the arrest of 8 Indians.
The name of the company in the new website is Dahra Global. It does not show any connection of QENF to the company, nor is there any mention of former Navy officers who were in leadership roles in the company.
These are eight former officers
The names of 8 former naval officers who have been given death sentence in Qatar are – Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vashishtha, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugnakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh. .