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Qatar frees 8 Indian Navy veterans detained on alleged spying charges

New Delhi: On Monday, India announced that the eight veterans of the Indian Navy who were detained in the Gulf country in an alleged case of espionage have been released. In an official statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said that seven of them have returned to India.

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi: On Monday, India announced that the eight veterans of the Indian Navy who were detained in the Gulf country in an alleged case of espionage have been released. In an official statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said that seven of them have returned to India.

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Early on Monday, in a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said that welcomed the development and seven of the eight former Indian Navy personnel working for the Al Dahra Global Company, a private firm, returned to India from Qata.

In a statement, the MEA said,”The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global Company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Emir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals.”

The eight Indian nationals were imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme. In December last year, a Qatari court reversed the death penalty of the eight Indian Navy veterans who were arrested in the Al Dahra Global case. The death sentence was reduced to jail terms.

The development came after Qatar’s Court of First Instance accepted an appeal filed by the Indian government against the death sentence awarded to the Navy veterans. Describing the judgement, the Ministry of External Affairs had said, “We have noted the verdict today of the Court of Appeal of Qatar in the Dahra Global case, in which the sentences have been reduced.

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The eight Indian Naval officers detained in Qatar are – Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vashishtha, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta and Sailor Ragesh.

The Indian Navy veterans returned to Delhi and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his intervention in the issue. One of the Navy veterans said, “We are very happy that we are back in India, safely. Definitely, we would like to thank PM Modi as this was only possible because of his personal intervention.”

In a statement his colleague said, “We waited almost for 18 months to be back in India. We are extremely grateful to the Prime Minister. It wouldn’t have been possible without his personal intervention and his equation with Qatar.” He added,”We are grateful to the Government of India from the bottom of our hearts for every effort that has been made and this day won’t have been possible without those efforts.”

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