My son was thrown out of MV Prabhu Daya: Father

The father of 24-year-old Prasobh Sugathan, second officer on MV Prabhu Daya, the merchant ship under investigation for ramming into a Kerala fishing boat, denied that his son tried to commit suicide by jumping off the ship. He said his son was thrown out of the ship on March 2 into the Sri Lankan sea.

K.E. Sugathan, who took voluntary retirement from state public sector KELTRON, said that his son joined this ship in the second week of January.

"When I saw on TV channels the ship which my son works as a suspect of hitting the boat that killed three fishermen off the Alappuzha coast, I called up the Mumbai office of his company but they did not cooperate at all. Then last Saturday I received a call from an official of the company stating that my son is missing from the ship," said Sugathan.

"Since then a lady from Mumbai repeatedly called me and instead of pacifying me and my wife, she was interested to find out if there was any news from my son.

"On Sunday midnight my son calls me from Sri Lanka and he said he is on a boat. Then a few hours later I got another call from a person who addressed himself as a Sri Lankan Navy commander and said my son is safe and he is suffering from slight pneumonia and is admitted to a hospital in Trincomalee and he is recovering," said Sugathan.

He said that the ship officials are now trying to frame him and from TV reports I see that my son is the first accused in the hit and run case.

"What actually happened according to what my son said is that after finishing his duty around 4 a.m on Saturday morning, he returned to his room and when he opened the cabin of his room, someone covered him with a white cloth and he was badly punched on right side of the jaw. When he woke up next he was in the company of Sri Lankan fishermen who rescued him from the seas," said Sugathan.

"What we have come to realise is the shipping company is now trying to make my son a scapegoat and they will go to any extend to do that because today a technical director of the Mumbai based shipping company and an international lawyer met him at the hospital and I think they have made him sign some papers," added Sugathan.

Sugathan also added that he is going to meet Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to register his complaint that his son is being framed.

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