The family of former Indian Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been arrested by Pakistani officials on charges of espionage, is in the process of engaging a Pakistan-based lawyer
Jadhav’s family members, well-wishers and a senior officer from the Mumbai Police met External Affairs Ministry officials in Delhi Saturday evening, and were told that the government will raise the issue with their Pakistani counterparts to get more information on him.
“Since Pakistan has not officially shared details on the arrested Indian national regarding his identity, the nature of offence committed by him, the exact location from where he was apprehended and the charges levelled against him, we have requested the officials if these details could be shared,” a family source said.
Sources said Jadhav owns a cargo business in Iran and ferried small cargo from Bandar-Abbas and Chabahar ports in Iran. He had a residence permit valid till June this year for stay in Chabahar Free Trade Zone or CFZ. Interestingly, a passport allegedly seized from Jadhav, which identifies him as Hussein Mubarak Patel, also shows that his Iranian visa was valid till June.
Denying that he was involved in any ‘subversive activity’ or worked for R&AW, Jadhav’s family members say he might have strayed into Pakistani waters, or been lured there with some business proposal.
“He was arrested on a passport which identifies him as Hussein Mubarak Patel. If he indeed was a spy, he would never have revealed his true identity — that he is Kulbushan Jadhav, a resident of Mumbai,” a family member said. “His Mumbai address is also known (to them). A spy will never reveal his real identity. We suspect he is a victim of a larger political conspiracy.”
“We don’t buy that he was arrested last week either. If he is indeed Kulbhushan, we suspect he was arrested a month ago, since the time he has been incommunicado,” the source said.
“Kulbhushan had sought premature retirement from the Navy as commanding officer and was pursuing his trade business in Iran,” the source added. “He last spoke with his father around three months ago and to his wife around a month-and-a- half ago.”
The family hopes to engage a lawyer. “Since he is a foreign national, it is Pakistan’s responsibility to share details concerning the arrested person and also allow him to avail the services of a lawyer. It is settled international law that family members have to be intimated and the accused provided counsel,” the source said.