Saudi Aramco exec spent week in Chamoli jail, released after Rs 1k fine- QHN

While on holiday, Saudi Aramco’s top executive spent nearly a week in a Uttarakhand jail after he was arrested in July for carrying a satellite phone without proper permission from authorities. The Saudi Aramco employee was released after paying a fine of Rs 1,000, reported The Indian Express on Wednesday.

Talking to Financial Times, Fergus MacLeod, head of investor relations at Saudi Aramco, said he was arrested by the Uttarakhand police on July 12 at his hotel in the Valley of Flowers National Park and was held in Chamoli’s prison until July 18.

The 62-year-old UK executive was detained after authorities picked up the coordinates of his phone. MacLeod said he switched off and on his phone, but did not use it during the holiday with friends, including his colleagues from oil giant Saudi Aramco, reported FT.

The possession or use of satellite phones by foreign nationals without prior approval is illegal and unauthorised in India, Chamoli SP Shweta Choubey told The Indian Express. Choubey added that MacLeod was arrested after he was found carrying a satellite phone.

“He (MacLeod) did not have any idea that it is not legal to carry a satellite phone in India (without prior permission) and he carried it with him. That is why he was detained. There was nothing wrong in the process,” she told IE.

This should also be noted that Chamoli district lies along the Line of Actual Control with China.

The Station Officer of Govind Ghat police station, Narendra Singh Rawat said they received information about a foreign national carrying a satellite phone in an area on July 11, reported IE.

“We sent a policeman to confirm that the man was carrying a satellite phone. It was confirmed. He was travelling to the Valley of Flowers and was detained from there,” Rawat said, as quoted by the English daily.

Rawat further told The Indian Express that MacLeod was arrested under sections of the Indian Telegraph Act and the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act.

“After the arrest was made, he was sent to the district jail where he stayed until July 18 before getting bail. On July 27, the case ended after he paid a fine of Rs 1,000,” Rawat told IE.

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