UAE: Jayaram Shetty, an Indian national from Neermarga, Mangalore, working as a Supervisor for Cold Store Trading Company in Dammam has been in the Jail in Dammam, Saudi Arabia for more than one year convicted for the crime not done by him. He was falsely implicated in theft case by the culprits who have done it, forcibly by making him sign on a blank paper and forging the document as if he has accepted this crime.
Shetty a native of Mangalore is a married man for 8 years and has a three year old daughter and wife living back in Mangalore. He is the sole bread earner of the family and serving in this company for more than 6 years in Dammam with excellent track records. His customers and his colleagues always praise him for his hardworking, sincerity and simplicity. In 2014 it was learnt that there was a theft case of 2 containers of Olive Oil in a far away yard of the company where Shetty worked as the Supervisor.
As told by Shetty, his work schedule begins from morning 8 AM till 6 PM and the said act of theft was not committed within the purview of the yard in which he was supervising. As per records maintained by the Company itself there is no nexus between his duty and the alleged theft of containers as the same is committed far away from his supervisory yard. His responsibility to take care of the materials would be limited to within the yard and once the goods contained in the container leaves the said yard, the responsibility of the container shifts to the person who carry the said containers to its destination. However he was falsely and frivolously accused by the Company in the theft case, which was committed by unknown persons.
Despite the fact known to the Company that Shetty was not real culprit in the case, still he was accused and handed over to the police. When the real culprits were not found, the Company made false allegations against Shetty and trapped him into legal battle. He was made redundant by the Company on August 6, 2014 and was forced to remain in the remote house confinement for more than 2 months where he was tortured continuously. He then was coerced to admit and sign on the Arabic paper, which he could not read. It was later found out that they have written in Arabic that Shetty has committed the crime and admitted that he has sold the goods for profit to an unknown company.
Based on the forged signature taken on the documents, on October 17, 2014, Shetty was handed over to Dammam Police. Since then, he has been in the jail and has faced the trials in Dammam Court. Again based on the documents produced to the Court, the judgment was announced and Shetty was sentenced for 8 months’ imprisonment and flogging (lashes) for every 15 days. With all pain, Jayaram Shetty had to bear the sentence pronounced by the Court which got executed immediately. The tenure of imprisonment got over by August 2015 but Shetty was still not released from the jail as he was kept imprisoned for more than a year illegally, despite of repeated pleas to release. Jayaram Shetty’s wife Geetha and brother in law Hari Alva pleaded the Indian Mission in Dammam to look into the matter but in vain.
Later through some reference, on August 17, 2015 Hari Alva, brother-in-law of Jayaram contacted Social Worker Shodhan Prasad in Dubai who in an earlier instance had helped one Mangalorean in another similar case get released. Shodhan later took up the matter actively with his some of his known associates in MASA & KWAR in Saudi Arabia who promised to help in this case. Later Shodhan also met and requested Dr B R Shetty in Abu Dhabi to help. Continuing the fight Shodhan contacted his friend Social Worker, Advocate P A Hameed who is based in Riyadh and he took up Jayaram Shetty’s case seriously and sent a plea to Bader Al-Qassim who is the Chief of the Human Rights Commission in Dammam registering the case for a fair judgment. While the study of his case was going on in HRC he additionally arranged to send a personal plea from Geetha Jayaram Shetty to His Royal Highness Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Humane & Philanthropic Prince of Saudi Royal Family. However the case did not get a quick response and was moving slow without any result.
Shodhan did not give up the fight and was constantly in touch with Jayaram Shetty through mobile contact in jail and consoling him daily. Luckily there was a sharing mobile facility in there wherein they get daily one or two chances to talk. Shodhan then on December 9, 2015 sent a request letter to Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister copying to all the Junior Ministers in the Portfolio which got an immediate response the very next day itself which showed positive signs. External Affairs Ministry replied and gave a reference number for the grievance and asked to log on to Madad portal with the said reference which he did and was following up with the case. It was learnt that Indian Embassy was not taking the matter serious until then and later Shodhan contacted the Indian Embassy in Riyadh who said they are aware of the case and will do the needful. They also informed that the owner of the company where Jayaram worked had put another false case of money theft against him and because of this he is still kept in jail awaiting hearing of the case.
Later with the follow-up it was learnt that the Jayaram’s Employer was not responding to the case hearing probably knowing that the matter is getting serious through Diplomatic mission, hence was not attending the case. Since he did not appear for many hearing, the court black listed him and the case got closed. Taking opportunity of this and pleading with the Jail Authorities of Jayaram’s innocence, the Jail Captain agreed to release Jayaram provided he gets his Passport or Exit Pass from Indian Embassy immediately.
Shodhan contacted the Embassy again and requested them to issue a Exit Pass in the absence of the Passport which was held by the Employer who was absconding. After constant follow-up the Embassy arranged to deliver the Exit Pass to Jail Authorities last week who then asked Jayaram to arrange money for his Air Ticket. On his request Shodhan with the help of some Members of Namma Tuluveru UAE, collected cash and arranged to send the same to the Jail Authorities who acknowledged receipt and arranged one way air ticket back to Mangalore.
Jayaram reached Mumbai this morning and is now a free bird and can join his family after a period of more than a year struggling in the Jail. He will have to forget this bad experience and start a new life. Probably later someone may help him with a new job elsewhere so that he can support his family and lead a new life. It is learnt that Jayaram got few contribution from MASA on his return but his dues with the Employer is still pending which has to be taken up later.