New Delhi: Eight former officers of the Indian Navy have been handed death penalty in Qatar following allegations of spying for Israel, NDTV reported quoting sources.
Calling the judgement “shocking”, the foreign ministry said it would not comment much on the case given the “confidential nature of proceedings” but assured that it would contest the case.
The men, including decorated officers who once commanded major Indian warships, were working for Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, a private firm that provided training and related services to Qatar’s armed forces.
The NDTV report quoting sources said some of them were working on a highly sensitive project – Italian technology-based midget submarines with stealth characteristics.
The men have been in jail since August 2022. Granted consular access to them, New Delhi has been working to secure their release. The men went to trial in March.
Their bail pleas were rejected numerous times and their detention extended by Qatari authorities. Today, the Court of First Instance of Qatar passed a judgement.
Those sentenced are Capt Navtej Singh Gill, Capt Birendra Kumar Verma, Capt Saurabh Vasisht, Cdr Amit Nagpal, Cdr Purnendu Tiwari, Cdr Sugunakar Pakala, Cdr Sanjeev Gupta and Sailor Ragesh.
“We are deeply shocked by the verdict of death penalty and are awaiting the detailed judgement. We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“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,” the ministry statement read.