27 Oct 2023

Death sentence to 8 former Indian Navy officers in Qatar, what did Indian government say?

New Delhi: India has described the death sentence to eight Indian citizens arrested in Qatar as tragic and said that it will explore all legal options in this matter.

These eight are retired officers of the Indian Navy and have been in jail in Qatar since August last year. Qatar has not made public the allegations against them.

The Indian embassy, since the officers were detained by the Qatari authorities, has been making all possible efforts to bring them back. They have been facilitating regular visits to the family members and providing consular and legal assistance to the Navy personnel. 


Speaking of India’s position on the arrest of eight former Indian Navy personnel, MEA spokesperson Bagchi emphasised that the Centre was making “all efforts to assist these Indians.”

India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement that they have initial information that the Court of First Instance of Qatar has passed a judgment in the case involving 8 Indian employees of Al Dahra company.

MEA said in the statement: "We are deeply shocked by the verdict of death penalty and are awaiting the detailed judgment. We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options."

MEA said further: We attach high importance to this case, and have been following it closely. We will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also take up the verdict with Qatari authorities.

According to the MEA, due to the confidential nature of proceedings of this case, it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this juncture.

Retired officers were arrested on charges of spying 

In August 2022, the retired officers were arrested on charges of spying and were accused of espionage and state-sponsored terrorism. According to reports, the eight men were spying for Qatar on a secret naval project.

The convicted men are 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 Gopakumar. They worked for a private firm, Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, which provided training and other services for Qatar's armed forces.

Every possible effort should be made for their release: Ramesh 


Congress leader Jairam Ramesh wrote on social media, "The Indian National Congress has taken cognizance of the extremely sad developments related to 8 former Indian Navy officers in Qatar with utmost sorrow, pain and regret."

“We hope and expect that the Government of India will use its diplomatic and political influence with the Government of Qatar to the maximum extent possible to ensure that the authorities are fully supported in their appeals and that they are quickly Every possible effort should be made to get him released soon."

For the last few months, there was a lot of pressure on the Government of India to get these former officers released and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs had said that this matter is their 'top priority'.

Sister of one of the former officers appeals to PM


Last June, Mitu Bhargava, sister of one of the former officers arrested, had sought help from the government to bring her brother back.

Mitu Bhargava had written on X, "These former Navy officers are the pride of the country and I once again appeal with folded hands to the Honorable Prime Minister that they should be immediately brought back to India without any delay."

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