The Bombay High Court Tuesday made the Qatar consulate in Mumbai a respondent in a petition filed by a Chembur resident, whose brother employed in Doha died “mysteriously” in November 2013.
The petition has urged the court to direct the Indian government to probe into the death of the 38-year-old, whose family is yet to receive his body.
Dilip Baldev Singh Khalsa, an engineering student, moved court against the ministry of external affairs, J M Mehta and company that recruited his brother for a job in Qatar, and the Qatar Engineering and Construction (QEC) company, his brother’s employer.
According to Khalsa’s petition, the website of the Indian embassy in Doha stated that in three years, almost 1,000 workers were reported dead in Qatar, but did not mention any causes. The petition stated that his brother Jitender was recruited by the Santacruz-based agency and he joined QEC on September 11, 2013, on a 90-day assignment.
Around 7.30 pm on November 26, 2013, Jitender’s family was informed by the recruitment agency about Jitender’s death. A notification issued in Qatar said Jitender had died as a result of “acute heart and respiratory failure”. He is survived by his wife Rajinder and 11-year-old daughter Harminder.
On November 27, 2013, Khalsa visited Qatar’s consulate in Mumbai, where he learnt that the company had stated that his brother had suffered a heart attack while boarding a flight back to India. However, they could not produce his air ticket.
“He would not have been recruited if he was not physically fit. He could not have had a sudden heart attack. We spoke to him on the phone just a week before we were informed about his death,” Khalsa told Newsline.
While Khalsa said his family was willing to receive Jitender’s body, he insisted that the authorities in Qatar also send post-mortem and forensic reports so that the cause death was known. The authorities have, however, refused to conduct a post-mortem, arguing that the public prosecutor in Qatar had opined there was no criminality in the case.
“For four months, the body is in that country?” Justice N H Patil asked.
Khalsa has claimed a compensation of Rs 70 lakh from QEC and sought a court direction to the Indian government to provide a job to Rajinder.
Asking the petitioners to serve a notice to the Qatar consulate, the court adjourned the case till April 11.