Qatar cracks down on submarine company Dahra with espionage charges

Eight former employees face death sentences.
Loukia Papadopoulos
An illustration of a submarine under water.jpg
An illustration of a submarine under water.

sefa ozei/iStock  

Qatar has shut down Indian submarine company Dahra Global after accusing several of its employees last August of performing espionage for Israel.

This is according to a Tweet published Saturday by the South Asia Index.

As many as 75 Indian nationals have been advised that their last day of work at Dahra will be 31 May while eight staff members who are former Indian Navy officials face the death penalty.

The rest of the company’s Indian nationals will have to return to their home countries because their Qatari visas expire making it illegal for them to stay in the Middle Eastern nation.

Dahra Global has been under investigation since last August when eight ex-Indian Navy personnel working with the company in senior positions were detained by Qatar’s intelligence agencies and accused of espionage.

Those charged 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.

Potential death sentences faced

They now face a potential death sentence as Qatari authorities claim to have electronic evidence of their wrongdoings.

For now, it remains unclear whether India will try to interfere in the case. In his weekly press briefings, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We are engaged with the Qatari authorities. Our embassy in Doha continues to remain in touch with the families. The next day of the hearing is in early May. We are trying to see what can be done before that in connection with that hearing.”

The next hearing in the ongoing case is to be held 3 May. The charges affecting the eight men will then be made public.

The former Dahra Global employees were part of a super-secret project to build Italian technology-based midget submarines with stealth characteristics.

Sources affiliated with the company have claimed that a new firm called the “Advanced Services and Maintenance (ASM)” is in the process of overtaking all of Dahra Global’s assets. No mention has been made as to whether the new company will continue to undertake the secret project begun by the now defunct firm.

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