Visakhapatnam | The Indian Government should step up its efforts and bring back the eight Navy veterans who have been sentenced to death by a Qatari Court for alleged espionage, a relative of one of the eight former Naval officers from Andhra Pradesh said on Friday in Visakhapatnam.
Eight former Indian Navy officers were arrested on August 30, 2022 and sentenced to death on Thursday by the Court of First Instance of Qatar.
C Kalyan Chakravarthy, brother-in-law of Sugunakar Pakala, one of the eight veterans, appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs (MEA) Minister S Jaishankar to obtain the release of the veterans.
"All of these men are above 50 years old and they went to Doha to earn their livelihood. Why would they spy and for what benefit? So, I request the Indian Government to get my jijaji (Pakala) and other men to India," Chakravarthy said, talking to reporters at Vizag Press Club.
He said it has already been 14 months since the former Naval officers were incarcerated in the West Asian country, and demanded to know how long it would take to repatriate them.
According to Chakravarthy, Qatari authorities picked up the eight persons in the middle of the night over unsubstantiated charges, suspecting their friendly conversations and phone calls and exchanges between military attaches from India.
He alleged that enemy nations of both India and Qatar were behind this.
Chakravarthy said that the MEA spokesperson kept saying that neither was the ministry informed of any charges against these men, nor did Qatar present any evidence of their alleged espionage.
He said the reports that the eight Navy veterans were spying for Israel are completely false and baseless.
He questioned why the families of the veterans are being kept in the dark and where the case is heading next. He demanded quick and harsh measures from India.
Chakravarthy reminded that Jaishankar had stated in Parliament on December 8, 2022 that these eight men would be repatriated. "What confidence and faith will the Government instill in serving service members and veterans if it fails to repatriate them," he asked.