Eight retired Indian Navy officers have been sentenced to death in Qatar on charges of espionage and state-sponsored terrorism. These officers, who once commanded Indian warships, were accused of spying for Israel while working for a private firm that provided services to the Qatari armed forces.
The eight convicted officers 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 were employed by Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, a private company that offered training and other services to Qatar’s military.
The charges against them include espionage and involvement in a secret naval project on behalf of Qatar. These officers were accused of spying on Qatar’s advanced submarines, particularly focusing on their special stealth-enhancing materials. It is believed that these submarines were part of an effort involving an Italian shipbuilding firm.
The arrests took place in Doha in August 2022, leading to their trial and conviction.
In response to this development, the Ministry of External Affairs in India said that it is awaiting the detailed judgment from the Court of First Instance.
A ministry statement read, “We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options.”
“We will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also take up the verdict with Qatari authorities,” the MEA said.
The ministry refrained from making further comments, citing the “confidential nature of proceedings” in the case against these former naval officers.