Qatar releases Indian Navy veterans: Families notified by Indian government after their loved ones boarded flights back home, evoking relief and gratitude.

All eight former Indian Navy personnel have returned to India, with Commander Purnendu Tiwari anticipated to join them back home shortly.

Family members of the eight former Indian Navy officers, arrested in 2022 over an alleged espionage case, were informed by the Indian government about their release late on Sunday after they had boarded flights back home.

Only Commander Purnendu Tiwari hasn’t returned yet. However, he’s expected to be back in India soon.

All others landed in New Delhi early on Monday and are now able to live freely with their families.

A family member expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Emir of Qatar for their release. They were informed about the release once the men had boarded their flights.

The Indian nationals, employees of Dahra Global in Doha, were detained in August 2022. Though the charges against them have not been disclosed by Qatari authorities, they were accused of spying for Israel according to a report in the UK’s Financial Times.

The individuals were identified as Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Ragesh.

In December last year, the appeals court in Qatar reduced their death sentences to imprisonment, ranging from three years to 25 years. Commander Tiwari, who held a senior position at Dahra Global, received the longest sentence of 25 years. Four were sentenced to 15 years, two to 10 years, and Sailor Ragesh received the shortest sentence of three years.

After the appeals court reduced their death sentences, family members informed The Indian Express in December 2023 that they planned to appeal to the Court of Cassation, Qatar’s highest court.

In the first week of January, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson stated to the media that the legal team had been granted 60 days to file an appeal. “The legal team has now received a confidential copy of the court order,” MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal informed reporters at that time. “Furthermore, the legal team has been given 60 days to submit an appeal to the Court of Cassation, Qatar’s highest court. Our legal team is evaluating this matter to determine the next steps, and we are in contact with the families and the legal team,” he stated.

Family members were unaware of the specifics regarding how the government facilitated the release of their relatives. “We don’t have details on how this happened, only that the Emir has agreed to let them go,” said another family member.

In response to their release, the MEA stated, “The Indian government is pleased with the release of eight Indian nationals employed by Dahra Global company, who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight have returned to India. We commend the decision of the Amir of the State of Qatar to facilitate the release and return of these nationals.”


Qatar lessens sentences for eight Indian nationals on death row.

After 18 months, we’re finally back”: Joyful sailors upon returning to India from Qatar.

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