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Business News/ News / India/  Who are 8 ex-Indian Navy personnel sentenced to death and what were they doing in Qatar?
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Who are 8 ex-Indian Navy personnel sentenced to death and what were they doing in Qatar?

One of the former Indian Navy personnel, sentenced to death by a Qatar court, was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2019, reports said.

Eight former Indian Navy personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatari court on Thursday.Premium
Eight former Indian Navy personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatari court on Thursday.

Eight former Indian Navy personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatari court on Thursday. The charges which led to their sentencing are not formally in the public domain yet. However, an Indian official was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the ex-Navy personnel were accused of "espionage". The death sentence verdict was described as "deeply shocking" by India.

While the Qatar government hasn't made public any details about the case, the Indian government said Thursday it's exploring legal options after it received initial information about the sentencing. The Indian government expressed “shock" over the sentencing and said in a statement, “We are deeply shocked by the verdict of the death penalty and are awaiting the detailed judgment."

Who are these eight former Indian Navy personnel?

The former Indian Navy personnel are Captain Saurabh Vashisht, Commander Purenendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh.

All of these former Navy officers had "unblemished stints" of up to 20 years in the Indian Navy. "They had held important positions including that of instructors in the force," sources told the news agency PTI. "The former personnel had impeccable service records and had taken voluntary retirements in search of greener pastures," it said.

According to an NDTV report, Commander Purnendu Tiwari was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2019. It is the highest honour conferred on overseas Indians.

What were these ex-Navy men doing in Qatar?

According to reports, the Al Dahra security company had some arrangements with the Qatari authorities for facilitating training to naval personnel. "The men were training Qatari Navy personnel in the country," Bloomberg reported. The company provided training and other services for Qatar's armed forces.

In May, private firm Al Dahra Global Technologies closed its operations in Doha and all those working there (primarily Indians) have since returned home.

Al Dahra Global Technologies is a defence services provider company, owned by an Omani national, Khamis al-Ajmi, a retired squadron leader of the Royal Oman Air Force, the Indian Express said. Ajmi was also arrested along with the Indians last year but was released in November 2022.

Sources said the Indians were working on a "commercial basis" and the government is doing everything possible to help them just as it does for every Indian citizen. Some sources indicated that the Indian nationals were overseeing the induction of Italian small stealth U2I2 submarines as part of their work at Al Dahra.

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Published: 27 Oct 2023, 04:23 PM IST
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