Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has “unequivocally” denied claims that he played any role in securing the release of eight Indian Navy veterans in Qatar and said that it was done solely by the Indian government.
After the eight veterans, who were jailed for 18 months on alleged spying charges, were freed, BJP leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy said in a post on X on Tuesday that PM Narendra Modi had secured a “settlement” for their release after asking the actor to intervene.
Denying the claim, the actor’s team posted on X, “Regarding the reports concerning Shah Rukh Khan’s purported role in the release of India’s naval officers from Qatar, the office of Mr. Shah Rukh Khan says that any such assertions of his involvement are unfounded, emphasising the execution of this successful resolution solely rests with the Indian government officials and unequivocally denies Mr Khan’s participation in this matter.”
From the office of Mr. Shah Rukh Khan pic.twitter.com/s7Kwwhmd6j
— Pooja Dadlani (@pooja_dadlani) February 13, 2024
Stating that all matters related to diplomacy and statecraft are “best executed by our very able leaders”, the post said, “Mr. Khan like many other Indians is happy that the naval officers are home safe and wishes them all the best.”
The Bollywood megastar was in Qatar’s capital, Doha, recently to attend the AFC final as a special guest of honour. PM Modi, who is in the UAE, will travel to Qatar on Wednesday to discuss ways to strengthen the ties between the two nations.
After being released, a Navy veteran – one of seven who are already back in India – thanked PM Modi and said they would not have been freed without his “personal intervention”.
“We waited for almost 18 months to be back in India. We are extremely grateful to the PM. It wouldn’t have been possible without his personal intervention and his equation with Qatar. We are grateful to the Government of India from the bottom of our hearts for every effort that has been made and this day won’t have been possible without those efforts,” he said on Monday.
In a statement the same day, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals.”