2 Indian Students Acquitted of Drug Trafficking Charges in Kenya

The Indian students were acquitted as they were found to be only interns on the ship carrying narcotics.


Two engineering students who were allegedly caught with Sh 1.3 billion worth of heroin in Kenya were acquitted by the chief magistrate of Mombasa of drug trafficking charges on Nov. 23.

The magistrate, Julius Nang’ea, ruled that Prabhakara Nair Praveen and Vikas Balwan were only interns on the ship, MV Bushehr, and were not aware of the cargo that the ship contained or whether it was part of drug trafficking, The Star reported.

The Director of Public of Prosecutions (DPP), however, said that the state wanted the two students held for 14 days as it wants to lodge an appeal.

The two students, along with seven other crew members, were found on the ship that carried 33.2 kg of heroin off the Lamu coast. While six of the crew members were Pakistani nationals, one was from Iran. All nine of them, along with three Kenyans, faced two charges for narcotics trafficking. The magistrate ruled that the two Indian students were innocent but the others still need to prove themselves to the court.

On July 23, 2014, the nine crew members were captured from the ship carrying heroin and handed over to the Kenyan navy before their trial. The captain of the ship passed away before he was put on trial.

The magistrate ruled that the other crew members — Yousuf Yaqoob, Yakoob Ibrahim, Saleem Muhammad, Bhatti Abdul Ghafour, Baksh Moula, Pak Abdolghaffer, Muhammed Saleh, and Kenyans Khalid Agil Mohamed, Mohamed Osman Ahmed and Maur Abdalla Bwanamaka — were still answerable regarding the case.

A letter from the Indian embassy confirmed that the two students from the country were interns who had no part to play in the ship. The letter also showed that Praveen and Balwan were students of Alpha Marine Service College in New Delhi and were interning at Park Mansion Ship Management Ltd in India.

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