Honeymoon trip proves costly, Indian couple jailed in Qatar


NEW DELHI: A gifted honeymoon trip to Qatar landed an Indian couple in trouble which they had never imagined.

The couple from Mumbai was sent to jail shortly after landing in the Middle-Eastern country. The couple identified as Oniba and Shareeq are in Qatari jail for over one year on drug charges after a relative, who had sponsored the trip, packed 4 kg hashish in their luggage.

The couple’s relative identified as Tabassum Riaz Quereshi offered a belated wedding gift to them and arranged a trip to Qatar on July 6, 2019. As soon as the couple landed at Hamad International Airport, they were taken to prison for allegedly carrying drugs in their luggage.

According to a report in a leading daily of India, Oniba was pregnant with her first child when the incident took place.  Tabassum had told the couple that the package contained tobacco for a friend who lives in Doha.

Later, a Qatari court sentenced the couple to 10 years in prison and fined Rs 1 cr for drug trafficking. Now, a one year investigation by Mumbai police and Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) has concluded that the couple was duped by their aunt.

Tabassum and her associate Nizam Kara were arrested by Mumbai Police last year. However, they were released on bail in September this year.

The NCB on October 14 arrested Nizam and one Shaheeda in connection with a seizure of 1.4 kg charas in Chandigarh. Their interrogation revealed the couple was sent to Qatar by them and their associate Tabassum and concealed the drugs in their baggage. Tabassum is absconding.

On September 27 last year, Oniba’s father Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi wrote to NCB requesting help to get the duo released.

On Thursday, NCB Director General Rakesh Asthana visited the agency’s Mumbai office and took stock of current cases, including of the couple.

NCB has indicated that it will contact Qatari authorities through diplomatic channels and seek the release of the couple. Oniba gave birth to her baby in March this year.