The family of one of the two engineers left stranded in Iran since December 2013, has appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to facilitate their safe return after the duo were illegally ‘confined’ following the seizure of their passports when their Indian employer got embroiled in a dispute with a company there. In a letter and e-mail to Modi, Ilaben Pandya, mother of one of the city-based engineers, Sanket Pandya, on Wednesday sought immediate help from the Centre to bring back both her son and colleague Mohammed Hussain Khan, hailing from Haryana.
Sanket and Khan’s passports were allegedly seized by a private engineering firm in Iran’s Zanjan city over a business dispute with their Goa-based company Power Engineering India Pvt Ltd, 63-year-old Ilaben said.
Both were part of the Indian team sent to Iran for supervision of installation and pre-commissioning of a power plant being set up in Zanjan by Vazarjahan Company. But their passports were seized after a contractual dispute arose between the two companies leaving them trapped. In January this year, both of them were shifted to a hotel in Tehran after their ‘release’ from a guest house in Zanjan, where they were allegedly “confined”. “My son and Khan (both engineers) have been suffering from depression and health-related problems ever since the Indian embassy in Tehran shifted them to a hotel there but they have not been able to return to India yet,” she said.
After my husband Dinesh Chandra Pandya’s death in April last year, Sanket has been the only bread-winner for the family which comprises wife and his two children also, Ilaben said in the communique. She said her entire family in Vadodara, voted for Modi in the recent Lok Sabha polls hoping that things would “change” soon.
“Since the time you became PM, my family has been pinning hopes on you to facilitate the return of Sanket,” she said reminding Modi of a son’s duty and responsibility towards his ageing mother. “Only a son can understand the value of his mother,” she added. Ilaben, in her letter, reiterated that the matter was brought to Modi’s notice when he was the CM of Gujarat, requesting him to take up the issue with then PM Manmohan Singh but nothing happened. Also, families of the both the men have approached various authorities, including the Ambassador and embassy of Iran to secure their release, but in vain.