Mumbai: Three men, originally from Tamil Nadu, arrested by Mumbai Police started their boat journey from Kuwait on January 28 and claimed to have taken Saudi Arabia-Dubai-Pakistan route before entering Indian shores illegally, as per the police remand note.
A court on Wednesday remanded the trio to police custody till February 10 as police needed to verify the route taken by the trio and whether they had committed any crime in the international territory.
The advocate of the accused, however, claimed that they escaped from their Kuwaiti employer who withheld their passports and ill-treated them.
Police have recovered GPS from the boat which needs to be sent for analysis to get clarity on the route taken by the three from Kuwait to India, as per the remand note submitted in the court.
“During the initial probe, the accused persons said they left Kuwait on January 28 and travelled to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, Muscat, Oman and Pakistan before entering the Indian shores. The police are yet to ascertain this route,” as per the remand note.
The boat was spotted off the Mumbai coast during patrolling on Tuesday morning, following which a case was registered against Nitso Ditto (31), Vijay Vinay Anthony (29), and J Sahayatta Anish (29) under the provisions of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules for not following the due procedure required while entering the country.
They were arrested and produced before a metropolitan magistrate here.
The trio had gone to Kuwait from Trivandrum in Kerala two years back through an agent, identified as Captain Madan, for employment, police stated.
They were working as fishermen with one Abdulla Sharheed, who had kept their passports with him. The trio claimed that they were not paid wages regularly and that they were assaulted.
“The accused persons claim to have complained about the same to a local police station in Kuwait and with the Indian embassy there. However, when they failed to get any response, the trio decided to flee,” the police said.
The boat has been checked by a team of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) and no explosive substance has been found.
Since the three have crossed international borders, the police need to verify if they met anyone, whether they committed any offence in Kuwait or if they carried any suspicious article or individual on the boat during their travel, and if they have committed any act that would be detrimental to national and international safety, the note stated.
The accused persons’ advocate Sunil Pandey, said they are victims of circumstances. He said being citizens of India, they ought to be treated properly.
“They were treated badly in Kuwait by their employer. They were not paid wages and by not returning their passports they were made hostages there. Hence, they decided to escape and return to their own country,” Pandey told the court.
Police further said the identity and addresses of the accused are verified with their relatives in Tamil Nadu. The families have been informed about their arrest.
The incident has raised concerns over potential maritime security lapses. It has brought to memory the time when ten Pakistani terrorists entered Mumbai shores through the sea route and went on to launch a dastardly attack on the city on November 26, 2008, killing 166 persons and injuring over 300 others.