Desperate attempts of a father, searching for his son who had gone missing in 2011 off the Malaysian coast while on-board a vessel, has led him to move the Delhi High Court. The court has now asked the government to update him either about his son's whereabouts or his fate.
His son had gone missing barely two months after he had started working on a ship of a Malaysian shipping company. "He (father) needs closure," a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Deepa Sharma told the Centre while seeking its response on the man's plea. The court directed the Ministries of External Affairs, Shipping and Overseas Indian Affairs to place on record the steps taken by them to trace the missing son of the Haryana resident and listed the matter for hearing on July 14. It also asked the government about the status of the FIR lodged by the company with the Malaysian police after the petitioner's son, Mukesh Kumar, disappeared. As per the company, Kumar had disappeared on December 24, 2011, and while searching the ship for him, they had found his slippers, gloves and cigarettes floating in the water, but his body was not found. The petitioner, Kheta Ram, has pleaded that he wants to know what had happened to his son and whether any effort was made to locate him since 2011. "On a ship with so many crew and people in the middle of the sea, where can Mukesh go missing is the question no one could satisfactorily answer," the plea filed through advocate Rabin Majumder said. Kumar had been employed as an ordinary seaman with the Malaysian company in October 2011. The petitioner has contended that the company had "smoothly washed-off its hands" from all responsibilities after lodging an FIR and then offering Malaysian Ringgit (RM) 25,000 as final settlement amount. The petitioner had requested the company for an interim compensation of RM 175,000. The company had told him that under the Malaysian insurance law, claims can only be considered if the body or the person was unfound after five years. In his plea, Kheta Ram has also sought directions to the Malaysian company, Shri Cahaya Services Sdn Bhd, to compensate him and his family.