Jogesh Chandra Das, chief engineer of a merchant navy and a resident of Picnic Garden, Kolkata, has been languishing as an undertrial in a Nigerian jail since October 2014.
But it was only on Friday that his daughter, Shreyoshi, got to intimate the Kasba police station of the matter, frantically seeking their help, since the family was absolutely in the dark about the developments that have been unfolding in that country over the past year.
Shreyoshi also plans to take up the issue with the ministry of external affairs in Delhi and request them to secure her father’s release.
“My father set out for Ghana on October 23, 2013. On July 22, 2014, the ship mistakenly entered Nigerian waters and my father, along with 11 other members of the crew, was arrested,” said Shreyoshi, who is doing her post-graduation in animation from a private institute.
Das, 47, is currently lodged in Yenugua Prison at Bayalsa and is facing trial for a case initiated by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission of Nigeria.
Initially, Das did not let his family know that he was in jail. He simply said his ship had been detained and they would start sailing once the authorities released the vessel.
“But, in mid-July this year, when he was produced in court for the last time, he broke down completely. He said he had come to realize that the court was only wasting time and keeping on extending the hearing dates. Only the last time, when he called us on July 27, did we come to know that he had been in prison for the past year,” Shreyoshi said.
The jail authorities, however, ensured food and medicines for the Indian convicts. Das, a retired Indian Navy official, has also been allowed to call his family twice a week.
“We’ve forwarded Shreyoshi’s intimation to the security control department of Kolkata Police. Going by protocol, they’ll take up the issue with the external affairs ministry,” an official of the Kasba police station said.