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Parents of missing navy sailor demand CBI probe, pray for safe return
3/3/2024 9:53:36 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Mar 3: The parents of Indian Navy sailor Sahil Verma, who has been missing for a week, on Sunday demanded a CBI probe into the circumstances leading to his "mysterious disappearance" at sea from an Indian naval ship while on deployment.
Verma, a seaman in the Indian Navy, went missing from a naval ship on February 27 and a massive search operation has been launched to trace him.
His father Subash Chander and mother Rama Kumari - who live in the Ghou Manhasan area of Jammu - have sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to ensure the safe return of their missing son.
"It is astonishing that a soldier went missing from his naval ship and is not traceable. I have been told that the CCTV cameras installed on the ship did not find anyone falling into the sea. Then where is my son?" Chander said at his residence in the outskirts of the city. Relatives and neighbours of the family are making regular visits to express their support and praying for Verma's safe return.
Terming the seaman's disappearance as "unfortunate", the Mumbai-headquartered Western Naval Command has said a high-level board of inquiry has been ordered.
"In an unfortunate incident, Sahil Verma, Seaman II, has been reported missing at sea from (an) Indian Naval Ship whilst on deployment since February 27, 2024. The Navy immediately launched a massive search operation with ships and aircraft, which is still continuing," it said in a post on X on Saturday.
Expressing resentment over the sketchy information shared with the family, Chander said, "We got a call on February 29 informing that our son went missing on board the ship two days before that … we last talked to him on Sunday (February 25) and nothing is known (about) what happened to him." He said they want justice and know the whereabouts of his son. "We want the government to hand over the case to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) for a thorough probe. He was on duty and is missing," he added.
Verma's mother said something is being concealed about her son's disappearance. "There were 400 people on board the ship and only my son went missing," she said.
"My prayers and demands are only that my son returns safe and sound," she added.
Gautam, a maternal uncle of the missing seaman, said his disappearance is a fit case for a CBI probe as "we have heard that the ship returned to base for a day before leaving again". How is it possible that he went missing from the ship?" he asked.
"The family should have been informed and a board of inquiry ordered within 24 hours of the incident. But both of these things happened after two days," Gautam added.
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