Boat case: Three men arrested for illegal entry were on Kuwait’s ‘no-fly list’, say police


PTI, Feb 11, 2024, 10:18 AM IST

Three men arrested for entering India unlawfully on a boat from Kuwait were on the “no-fly list” of the Middle Eastern country, the Mumbai police informed a court here on Saturday while seeking further custody of the accused.

The accused persons’ lawyer, however, claimed that the men, who had travelled to Kuwait for work, were held hostage by their employer, and their passports had been confiscated.

The metropolitan magistrate has extended till February 12 the police custody of the three accused arrested under the Passport (Entry into India) Rules.

As per information shared by the consulate in Kuwait, the accused were on the country’s “no-fly list”, and their custodial interrogation was needed to verify this, the police informed the court.

The police said they were still investigating the GPS route of the boat.

According to the police, while they have procured the boat’s route from Alibag, a coastal town 90 km from Mumbai, they have not been able to get the route before it reached Alibag.

The trio’s advocate, Sunil Pandey, however, argued that this was their employer’s doing.

He claimed eight others had travelled with the accused to Kuwait for employment and were also stuck there with the same employer.

“All these Indian nationals were held hostage, and their passports were seized by their employer. The three accused had the courage to escape,” Pandey said, adding that custodial interrogation was not required as the trio were cooperating with the investigation.

The men hailing from Tamil Nadu were arrested on February 7 and were in police custody till Saturday.

The city police had found the boat near Gateway of India in south Mumbai on February 6.

Nitso Ditto (31), Vijay Vinay Anthony (29), and J Sahayatta Anish (29) were found in the boat and later arrested.

The trio had claimed that they had travelled to Kuwait for work two years ago but were allegedly mistreated by their Kuwaiti employer.

They fled the country on January 28 on their employer’s boat and reached Indian shores.

Although the police had said no immediate evidence of wrongdoing was found onboard the vessel, the circumstances raised red flags regarding potential maritime security breaches.

The accused have claimed that they sailed from Kuwait to India via Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Pakistan and eventually arrived in Mumbai after intending to return to their home state.

Anthony and Anish belong to the coastal town of Kanyakumari, and Ditto is a native of Ramnathpuram, 250 km from Kanyakumari.

According to the police, the trio claimed that they worked in Kuwait for two years in harsh conditions, which prompted their escape.

Their passports had been confiscated by their employer, and they alleged irregular payment of wages and physical assault.

The boat, upon inspection, revealed no signs of explosive materials and police have recovered a GPS device from the vessel to trace the route taken by the three to reach Mumbai.

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