S.P. Singh Oberoi with Izaz Mohammad, who has pardoned the 10 youths convicted of killing his son Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A Dubai-based businessman has paved the way for 10 Indian youths to escape the gallows after paying blood money to the father of the Pakistani national they were convicted of murdering in Al Ain.

S.P. Singh Oberoi, who also runs the NGO Sarabat Da Bhala Trust, told XPRESS that Izaz Mohammad, father of the victim, Mohammad Faran, whom he had specially flown in from Pakistan, had submitted a letter of pardon to the appeals court after accepting Dh200,000 in blood money last Wednesday.

A lower court in Al Ain had sentenced the 10 youths from Punjab to death on October 26, 2016, following Faran’s death in a bootlegging brawl on July 13, 2015. Oberoi had subsequently approached the appeals court on the ground that the youths’ parents were desperate to save their sons’ lives as they were the only breadwinners in their families.

The next hearing in the case is slated for April 12.

“There is no doubt that what the boys did was wrong. The only reason I came forward to help them was because of their families – mothers, wives and children who were in utter despair for no fault of theirs. I just feel as human beings, everyone needs to get a second chance,” said Oberoi.

Ordeal

Izaz, the father of the victim, said, “I agreed to pardon the youth because I know the pain of losing a son. I did not want their parents to go through a similar ordeal.”

Besides the 10 youths, Oberoi has also bailed out 78 UAE-based men, many of them facing the gallows, after their conviction in bootlegging-related cases. Of them, 50 are from Punjab, three from Hyderabad and two from Maharashtra in India, 11 from Pakistan and five from Bangladesh.

In what has been a mission almost, Oberoi has so far spent around Dh10 million to pay blood money to the families of those killed in bootlegging cases. Among those who have also availed his generosity are youths who had served their sentences but were languishing in jail as they could not afford to fly home.

Oberoi said, “I have bought over 800 air tickets so these boys can go back to their families.” He said he is currently working towards bringing relief to the families connected with two other bootlegging murder cases in Sharjah. While one of them pertains to five Indian youths convicted for the death of a fellow Indian, the other involves 14 youths, including 12 Indians and two Pakistanis, who have been convicted of killing two Indian youths.

“We are in talks with the families of the deceased to seek their pardon with payment of blood money,” he added.

According to Oberoi, the root of the problem lay in the youths’ inability to meet their financial needs. “Invariably, these boys take hefty loans to come here as unskilled labour. But the money they make is nowhere near enough to repay the loans. As the interest builds up and families come under pressure, they are tempted to look for ways to make easy money.” He said he keeps appealing to families back home not to send their boys overseas as unskilled labour. “If they want to come and work abroad, they should take up skilled jobs which are better paying.”