Saudi Aramco executive spent week in Chamoli jail for carrying satellite phone

Fergus MacLeod in Chamoli jail
Fergus MacLeod in Chamoli jail

Fergus MacLeod in Chamoli jail: In July, Saudi Aramco’s senior executive was arrested by police in Uttarakhand for carrying a satellite phone without permission while on holiday. After paying a fine of Rs 1,000, he was released.

The UK’s Financial Times reported that Fergus MacLeod, Saudi Aramco’s head of investor relations, was arrested on July 12 at his hotel in the Valley of Flowers National Park. He was held in prison until July 18.

After picking up the coordinates of the phone that MacLeod turned on and off at his hotel but didn’t use while on vacation with friends, including Saudi Aramco colleagues, authorities detained the British executive.

A part of Chamoli district lies along the Line of Actual Control with China.

A Chamoli police officer, Shweta Choubey, told The Indian Express that the executive was arrested after he was discovered carrying a satellite phone, which violated Indian law. Foreign nationals cannot use or possess satellite phones without prior approval in India.

Having no idea that satellite phones aren’t legal in India (without permission), he carried them with him. That’s why he was detained.

Narendra Singh Rawat, an officer at the Govind Ghat police station, said they received information about a foreign national carrying a satellite phone near the border on July 11.

It was confirmed that the man had a satellite phone. He was travelling to the Valley of Flowers, and from there he was detained,” he said.

“He 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 said.

“We provided consular support to a British citizen in India,” said a spokesperson for the British High Commission in New Delhi.

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