NEW DELHI: The eight Indian naval veterans, who were in captivity in Doha have been released, in what can be termed as a 'diplomatic coup' for India.
One veteran, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, is still in Doha though he is out of captivity.
“The case which was in its last leg in the Cassation court was finally settled out of court. All credit to the Indian diplomatic mission and the government.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s conversation with the Emir of Qatar is what worked,” said a source.
The eight Indian naval veterans, who worked for Dhara Global in Doha, were taken into custody on August 31, 2022 by Qatar's Interior Ministry on alleged espionage charges.
They were then kept in solitary confinement for months after which they were charge sheeted. The case took a turn for the worse when death penalties were announced on October 23, 2023. This was later commuted to jail terms and the case then went to the Cassation court.
The news of the release of the veterans was held back from their family members until they were about to leave Doha.
The seven naval veterans who have returned to India are Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vashisht, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh.
The Union government released an official statement welcoming the decision to set the veteran officers free, saying, "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."