Mumbai man, who went to Malaysia for Merchant Navy job, dies after months of torture

Updated: Mar 30, 2018, 12:20 IST | Suraj Ojha

Chembur youth, who landed in Malaysia for Merchant Navy job, dies after months of torture; his friend still stuck there with no work

Bramhadev Chaudhary, father of Sandeep (Below), with friends and neighbours outside his Chembur residence. Pics/RAajesh Gupta
Bramhadev Chaudhary, father of Sandeep (Below), with friends and neighbours outside his Chembur residence. Pics/RAajesh Gupta

Dreams of being Merchant Navy sailors took two Mumbai friends across the sea to Malaysia, but it ended up being their worst nightmare — one of them died eight days ago and the other is stuck there with no job or food, hungry, homeless and alone, desperately trying to
come back.

The family of deceased Sandeep Chaudhary, 21, a Chembur resident, has alleged that this happened because of the 'agent' their son and his friend Vikram Ghadge had got in touch, who took large sums of money from both of them on the promise of getting them the job of their choice, but instead left them to rot in inhuman conditions abroad.

The family also alleged that the other Indian agent in Malaysia even demanded R2.1 lakh from them just to release Sandeep's body, threatening to cremate him in Malaysia if they refused to pay.

Sandeep Chaudhary

Months-long ordeal
Ghadge told mid-day, "Sandeep and I wanted to work with the Merchant Navy, and we came in contact with one Avtar Singh, who said he helped people get jobs aboard ships in Malaysia. He told us to do the required course and then come to him. So, we did a 15-day course from a private institute, learning about personal survival techniques, social responsibilities, fire prevention and firefighting.

"We went back to Avtar, who asked us to pay R1.8 lakh per head for the job. Somehow our families managed, as they knew how important it was for us." Last July, the two landed in Malaysia, but it was only after their families paid Avtar another Rs 80,000 per head, as per his demands, did he set up a meeting with an agent — Jagdeep Singh — there. However, their troubles were far from over, as Jagdeep Singh started harassing them for money. They then asked their families to send Rs 60,000 more, which they gave Jagdeep.

"Jagdeep took us to a ship named Chan-Soom-lee and told us that we would get Rs 20,000 a month. Avtar had promised us Rs 40,000; nonetheless, we started working, but even after three months of hard labour, we didn't get a single penny. The ship had been declared unsafe by the government. We left and got jobs on another one with the help of some locals, but it was worse — the captain used to force employees to consume drugs in a bid to make them work longer hours. Sandeep had started consuming some white powder that was given onboard. We worked there for nearly a month, but again, no pay," said Ghadge.

Meanwhile, Sandeep took ill and started experiencing frequent chest pain. Ghadge too fell sick, and the two of them left the second ship and took some basic treatment from a local doctor. The two tried their hand at a third job after coming in touch with another Indian working there — Anis Khan helped them to get the position of loader in a hydro company for a monthly salary of Rs 28,000. However, shortly after joining work, Sandeep's health deteriorated and he died on March 20.

Body back home
His father Bramhadev Chaudhary told mid-day, "I have been in shock since finding out about his death. Worse, the agent there, Jagdeep Singh, tried extorting more money from us for his body. So, I approached the FSUI (Forward Seamen's Union of India)."

FSUI ensured the process to send back the body was started immediately, without having to pay anything for it. The body of Sandeep, whose cause of death has been stated as septic shock due to associated hepatic failure and acute respiratory failure in the post-mortem report, arrived in Mumbai late last night.

FSUI general secretary Manoj Yadav said, "The issue of people from India being sent abroad for jobs by unauthorised agents is a very serious one. The government should take stringent steps against such agents engaged in trafficking and slavery."

The FSUI is set to approach the government to put forward Ghadge's case and bring him back at the earliest.

Rs 1.8L Amount per head the agent in India took from the two

Also read: Thane: Four held for selling fake certificates for Merchant Navy job

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