NRI businessmen raised $50,000 to
save Indian on death row in Kuwait
NRI businessmen help save expat’s life
NEW DELHI, April 05, 2008
An Indian, who had been sentenced to death in Kuwait for the murder
of a Nepali girl, is likely to be pardoned thanks to generous NRIs
in the Gulf region who have paid 'blood money' to the victim's family.
Three Indian businessmen have pooled in Rs2mn (approx $50,000)
to save the life of Kerala's Shoukat Thikaseri, a cleaner at a hotel
in Kuwait, who was last year awarded capital punishment for the
death of housemaid Jamuna Thapa.
Thikaseri got an unexpected reprieve when Overseas Indian Affairs
Minister Vayalar Ravi took up the issue and approached the Kerala
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan for help. He approached M A Yusuf
Ali, a businessman based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who
agreed to donate Rs1mn. Soon, more help came.
"Chennai-based real estate businessman Faris Aboobacker and
another businessman from Dubai S S Aggarwal also contributed Rs500,000
each," Ravi said.
Ravi then sent Vanaja Thekkad, under secretary in his ministry,
to Nepal with the money and got the required papers signed by Thapa's
family members. The papers are now to be sent to the Indian mission
in Kuwait from where it will go to the labour ministry.
Thikaseri, who was a cleaner in a hotel at Jehra Al Khasar in
Kuwait, reportedly fell in love with Thapa. They both tried to commit
suicide after the girl's family opposed their marriage. However,
while Thikaseri lived, Thapa died.
A court in Kuwait sentenced him to death for the girl's death. Under
the law the convict can be acquitted if the victim’s family
Ravi took up the case after Thikaseri's family approached him.
He first met Nepali authorities in Abu Dhabi in January this year
when he went to attend a ministerial conference on overseas employment
and contractual labour.
They in turn helped the minister trace Thapa's family in Lumbini,
After negotiations, the deceased's family agreed to pardon Thikaseri
in lieu of Rs2mn. Ravi, who had visited Thikaseri's family earlier
this week, has assured the family that the government was doing
everything to save his life.
In a similar instance, the Andhra Pradesh government recently agreed
to pay Rs500,000 to the wife of a murder victim in Kuwait as part
of a settlement deal that will win pardon for another man from Kerala
awaiting execution in a Kuwaiti prison.