Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Mumbai couple, arrested for drug trafficking in Qatar during honeymoon, acquitted

Mumbai: The Indian couple sentenced to 10-year jail term in Qatar for allegedly smuggling drugs in 2019 will soon be returning back home. The couple has been acquitted of drug smuggling charges. 

Oniba and Sharique Qureshi went on their 'second honeymoon' to Qatar in 2019. They were arrested at the Hamad International Airport in Doha for allegedly carrying 4.1 kg of hashish. 

The couple had then pleaded innocence and claimed that the packet was handed over to them by their aunt to be delivered to a friend. 

However, they were arrested and convicted for the crime.  In Qatar, trial in drug cases are fast-tracked and the Supreme Judiciary Council of Qatar sentenced them to ten years of rigorous imprisonment. The couple were also fined 6,00,000 Riyals.

Oniba even gave birth to a baby girl in prison.  

The families of both Shareeq and Oniba then approached top authorities seeking help, however, they failed to get any desired results. 

On September 27, 2019, Oniba's father Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi wrote a letter to then NCB director general Rakesh Asthana, blaming son-in-law's aunt Tabassum Riyaz Qureshi and her associate Nizam Kar for the plotting drugs in their luggage.

He said that just as the couple was leaving, Tabassum gave Shareeq a bag and asked him to keep their clothes in that bag. On July 5, 2019, the couple left for Bengaluru. In Bengaluru, Tabassum's contact gave them one more bag. Shareeq was a little worried and so he called up Tabassum to enquire about the bag. She told him that there were some gutka and zarda in the bag and since these products were very costly in Qatar, he should take the bag with him and hand it to a contact she had given.

A detailed enquiry was initiated by NCB into the allegations levelled by Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi and it was learnt that a well-organized drug trafficking syndicate was being run by  Nizam Kara involving Tabussum and others.

31/03/21 Abhay Parashar/India TV

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