Eight former Indian Navy officers, sentenced to death in Qatar, have been accused of spying for Israel. The eight men worked for a private company that assisted the Qatari armed forces and included decorated officers who had previously commanded Indian warships.
In August 2022, the retired officers were arrested on espionage charges and charged with espionage and state-sponsored terrorism. According to reports, the eight men were spying for Qatar in a secret maritime project.
The convicted men are Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vashisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta and Seaman Rajesh Gopakumar. They worked for a private company, Al Dahra Global Technologies and Consulting Services, which provided training and other services to the Qatari Armed Forces.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it was shocked by the ruling and would raise the matter to the Qatari authorities.
The men, who were arrested in Doha last year, were accused of spying on advanced Qatari submarines for Israel. These submarines were covered with special materials that enhanced their stealth capabilities, something that would be valuable to any navy in the world.
According to reports, the submarines were built in cooperation with an Italian shipbuilding company.
In 2019, Commander Purnendu Tiwari was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, the highest honor given to Indians abroad. In a circular at the time, the Indian Embassy in Doha said the award was given to Commander Tiwari for enhancing India’s image abroad.
“This award comes in recognition of his contribution to building the capabilities of the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces, thus enhancing bilateral cooperation between India and Qatar. He is the first member of the Indian Armed Forces to receive this highest honor reserved for non-resident Indians and media officers.” He said.
Commander Tiwari was the Managing Director of Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services and commanded several warships when he was part of the Indian Navy.
“Explore all options”
The eight men’s bail applications were rejected several times, and the ruling was issued against them on Thursday by the Qatari Court of First Instance.
The State Department said in a statement in response to the ruling: “We are deeply shocked by the death penalty ruling and await the detailed ruling. We are in contact with family members and the legal team, and are exploring the matter.” All legal options.”
She added: “We attach great importance to this case, and are following it closely. We will continue to provide all consular and legal assistance. We will also discuss the ruling with the Qatari authorities.”
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