On 16 April 2018, Sanjay Chaudhary, chief engineer at the Anglo-Eastern shipping company, spoke to his wife for the last time. “Something horrible” was being conspired against him, he is said to have told her.
A day later, his wife was informed that Chaudhary, 45, died of cardiac arrest while he was on duty on the ship — a claim she refused to buy. Now, in a complaint to the CBI chief, Chaudhary’s wife, a Ghaziabad-based government employee, has alleged foul play.
To Know full details about this Case, Read Here
- About the Chief Engineer Sanjay Chaudhary Murder Case
- Full Story Explained by Chief Engineer’s Wife
- Allegations and Suspicious Circumstances
- Timeline Updates of Anglo Eastern RPSL Suspension – Sanjay Chaudhary Murder Case
- Timeline of Events so far in Anglo Eastern Chief Engineer Sanjay Chaudhary Murder Case
- Previous cases
- List of deceased Indian Seafarers who were killed under mysterious circumstances.
- The Future of Safety in Shipping
About the Chief Engineer Sanjay Chaudhary Murder Case
The Mysterious Death of Chief Engineer Sanjay Chaudhary
Sanjay Chaudhary was a chief engineer on a ship managed by Anglo-Eastern, a leading ship management company. He died on 17 April 2018 while sailing on M.V. Atlantic Olive, a product tanker owned by International Seaways. The official cause of his death was acute cardiac arrest, but his wife and family suspect foul play.
According to his wife, Sanjay had called her several times before his death and expressed his fear and dissatisfaction with his job. He had told her that he was aware of some illegal activities on the ship, such as smuggling, weapons, and drugs, and that he had confronted the captain about them.
He had also complained about the poor condition of the machinery and the lack of support from the company. He had said that he felt threatened by the captain and the senior management and that he wanted to quit his job and come back home.
However, on 17 April 2018, She received a shocking news that Sanjay had died of a heart attack while on duty. She was not convinced by this explanation and demanded an autopsy and an investigation into his death. She claimed that Sanjay was healthy and had no history of heart problems. She also alleged that the company had delayed the transportation of his mortal remains and had tried to cover up the incident.
When she received his body, she noticed some unusual swelling on his face and some cuts, marks, and lumps on his body. She suspected that he had been assaulted or tortured before his death. She also found that some of his belongings were missing.
She contacted the company and asked for an explanation, but they denied any foul play and said that the autopsy report from Cape Verde, where his body was examined, did not show any signs of injury or aggression.
His Wife was not satisfied with this response and approached the Indian authorities for help. She filed a complaint with the Ministry of External Affairs and requested a CBI probe into her husband’s death. She also launched a social media campaign to seek justice for Sanjay and to expose the alleged crimes of Anglo-Eastern and its associates.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) launched a probe into Chaudhary’s death in May 2018. In January 2019, the CBI filed a chargesheet against four people, including Anglo-Eastern’s former chief operating officer, Ranveer Thalod. The chargesheet alleged that Chaudhary was murdered by Thalod and three other employees of Anglo-Eastern.
The trial in Chaudhary’s murder case is still ongoing.
Here are some of the key allegations made by Chief Engineer’s Wife:
- Chaudhary had been complaining about being harassed by Anglo-Eastern in the lead-up to his death.
- There were unusual marks on Chaudhary’s body, including a cut on his neck.
- Key evidence, such as Chaudhary’s phone and laptop, had been destroyed.
- Anglo-Eastern had a motive to kill Chaudhary, as he was about to expose the company’s illegal activities.
The CBI’s chargesheet alleges that Chaudhary was murdered by three employees of Anglo-Eastern. The chargesheet says that they were angry with Chaudhary for refusing to participate in illegal activities, such as smuggling goods. The chargesheet also says that they were afraid that Chaudhary would expose the company’s illegal activities.
Full Story Explained by Chief Engineer’s Wife
My husband; Sanjay Chaudhary was sailing as Chief Engineer on M.V. Atlantic Olive Ship managed by Anglo-Eastern Ship Management Company at the time of his untimely and mysterious death.
He was employed as Chief Engineer having the responsibility of the maintenance of machinery installed on the ship. Since the day he has boarded the ship, he used to call me via IMO calls at least 4-5 times a day to express his unwillingness to work with the company due to the persistent acrimonious behavior of the Captain and the clandestine involvement of the Company in illegal activities like smuggling, weapons, and drugs, etc.
He told me that he had a heated argument with the Captain regarding the improper functioning of machinery as well as his indulgence in illegal activities. Captain however did not budge and threatened him with dire consequences. I suggested him to make a complaint to the senior officials, but he said that Captain works in close association with the senior management and thus complaining about him will be of no use.
On 15.4.2018 I again received a call from my husband who was feeling threatened that since he is now aware of the illegal activities of the Captain and other officials of the Company, he might be killed on the Ship. He apprehended serious danger to his life and limb. He told me that if something happens to him, I should take care of the family. I was alarmed and I asked him to leave the job and come back.
Unfortunately, my fear came true on 17.4.2018, when I was informed about the sudden demise of my husband purportedly due to acute cardiac arrest while he was on duty.
They tried their best to delay the process to the maximum extent they could and expressed their indifferent attitude towards my several requests of early transportation of mortal remains as well as a request from the Embassy of India, Dakar dated 20.4.2018.
Further, when I received the mortal remains of my husband, I noticed some unusual swelling on his face and there were some cuts, marks, and lumps present on the body. When I enquired about this from Rajiv Kumar, who was present at the funeral, he had no answer which created suspicion in my mind about his death.
I further enquired about these wound marks and lumps vide email dated 31.05.2018 to which they provided a mind-boggling response through email dated 11.06.2018 that they have checked with the doctor who performed the autopsy in Cape Verde and as per his version no facial injuries or other signs of aggression were observed on his body during the autopsy.
My suspicion became graver when I found that some belongings of my husband, which were handed over to one of my relatives at the cremation ground itself were missing. The missing items consisted of all the electronics including laptop, mobile, pen drives, hard drives, etc., files, and documents, which could have thrown light on the circumstance of his death. I am sure these items are with them, which need to be recovered to ascertain the truth in the matter.
Despite my several emails to the Company, to date, no satisfactory response has been given. On 31.5.2018, the company admitted that they could not find the missing articles. This threadbare reply made me clear that the electronics and documents of my husband have been misappropriated so that they cannot be used as evidence against them.
My husband was in the habit of writing down his day-to-day life activities and I suspect that all his notes which could have been detrimental to the accused persons have been illegally removed.
All the events right from (i) heated argument between my husband and the captain regarding his indulgence in illegal activities; (ii) fear of my husband about his life due to knowledge of the illegal activities on the Ship (iii) his suspicious and sudden death despite good health conditions (iv) inappropriate delay in the arrival of the body to India (v) unusual swelling and cuts on the body (vi) Missing belongings & (vii) Suspicious looking medical documents provided by the Company and (viii) non-disclosure of certain vital information, connect to each other and manifest that the accused persons are trying to conceal their criminal acts committed by them through a well-hatched conspiracy.
All the above-mentioned facts and circumstances sufficiently manifest the role of the Captain and other Company Officials in demonstrating a murder as natural death and in causing destruction of evidence through a well-hatched criminal conspiracy.
To date, the company officials have not provided me with complete information regarding the functioning of the company and the details of the ship. They are just arm-twisting the facts and providing me selective information which they consider appropriate and which does not go against their interests.
In view of this Case, DG Shipping on 1/06/2023 Suspended the RPSL of Anglo Eastern Ship Management details of which are present in below mentioned official DSEO Order dated 31-05-2023
Sanjay’s case is one of the many examples of how seafarers face various risks and challenges while working on ships. They are often exposed to harsh working conditions, long hours, isolation, stress, piracy, accidents, and sometimes even violence and murder.
They also have limited access to legal protection and medical care in case of emergencies. They deserve more respect and recognition for their contribution to global trade and economy.
Allegations and Suspicious Circumstances
Chaudhary’s wife reveals a series of unsettling events leading up to her husband’s death.
According to her, Sanjay expressed fear and dissatisfaction with his job, disclosing his knowledge of illicit activities such as smuggling, weapons, and drugs taking place on the ship.
He confronted the captain about these activities and complained about the poor condition of the machinery and lack of support from the company.
On April 17, 2018, Chaudhary’s wife received the shocking news of his sudden demise due to acute cardiac arrest while on duty.
However, she remained unconvinced by this explanation, suspecting foul play.
She demanded an autopsy and investigation into his death, pointing out that Sanjay had been healthy with no history of heart problems.
Upon receiving her husband’s body, she noticed unusual swelling on his face, cuts, marks, and lumps on his body, suggesting he may have been assaulted or tortured before his death.
Additionally, some of his belongings were missing, further fueling her suspicion. The company denied any foul play and claimed the autopsy report did not indicate signs of injury or aggression.
Launch of Investigation and Allegations of Murder
Timeline Updates of Anglo Eastern RPSL Suspension – Sanjay Chaudhary Murder Case
The Mystery of Death or Murder of Chief Engineer Sanjay Chaudhary
April 16, 2018 – Sanjay Chaudhary, spoke to his wife for the last time.
April 17, 2018 – A day later, his wife was informed that Chaudhary, 45, died of cardiac arrest while he was on duty
Family received his body after 16 days – His family could receive his Body only after a painfully long wait of 16 days which was deliberate on the part of the company. Most of his belongings were missing and were not returned by the company
May 31, 2018 – Company admitted that they could not find the missing belongs including mobile, laptop and documents of Sanjay which his Wife claims have been misappropriated so that they cannot be used as evidence against them.
January, 2019 – CBI filed a chargesheet against four individuals, including Anglo-Eastern’s former chief operating officer, Ranveer Thalod.
The chargesheet alleged that Chaudhary was murdered by Thalod and three other employees of Anglo-Eastern.
The ongoing trial continues to shed light on the evidence and circumstances surrounding the case. Chaudhary’s wife accuses the accused individuals of pressuring him to participate in illegal activities and murdering him when he refused.
The chargesheet highlights the fear of the accused that Chaudhary would expose the company’s unlawful practices.
Timeline of Events so far in Anglo Eastern Chief Engineer Sanjay Chaudhary Murder Case
This is, however, not the first time that the company is being accused of wrongdoing.
In the same month when Chaudhary’s death was reported, a 24-year old sailor reportedly went missing while on a ship managed by the same company. Suspecting foul play, the parents of Ashwin Kumar Hari, who had been at sea for only a few weeks, filed a complaint against Anglo-Eastern.
“We are suspecting a foul play about the missing case of our son and the date and time mentioned in letter (sic),” Hari’s father reportedly said in a letter to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Earlier in 2009, another 23-year-old Kerala youth, working as a cadet on board a container ship owned by Anglo-Eastern, had gone missing. Within a day of informing the family, the company reportedly told the parents that the search and rescue operations had been halted.
In October 2013, the DG Shipping had suspended the licence granted to the company’s Singapore unit to manage ships registered in India, because of safety lapses on the part of the company.
But the suspension did not prohibit the firm from managing ships registered in other parts of the world.
List of deceased Indian Seafarers who were killed under mysterious circumstances.
There is a long list of young deceased Indian Seafarers who were killed under mysterious circumstances. Some of them are:
- Febin James,26(Indian Express, 18th April,2009)
- Ashwin Kumar Hari, 24 (India Today, April 4, 2018 11:09 IST)
- Jatin Mishra, 24, The body recovered from waters in Western Australia The 24-year-old sailor was reported missing from MV Green Galaxy, a bulk ore carrier that was anchored off Port Hedland at the time of his disappearance. (SSB Punjabi, Punjabi Radio, Thursday, 09:00 p.m.)
- Yashwant Singh, Chief cook on 13-10-2019.
- Thinakaran Ramaswami, resident of Tamil Nadu on 20th July 2020
- Rohit Singh, 30, Chief Officer, Sailor remains missing amid explosions on the oil tanker where he was working.
- Perla Srinivas Rao, 41, Pump man, dated- 22.10.2018,
- Sanjay Chaudhary, 45, Chief Engineer
- Shivam Malik, 24, Third Officer, murdered on 01.10.2021. Cenito Vaz, 19, saloon trainee, employers claimed that he committed suicide on the ship. (Times of India, Dec. 9, 2012)
- Dhruv Gupta, 24, Third Officer, died due to an accident while staying at Company’s Mumbai guest house but the company did not help his family at all. (According to Shri Naveen Gupta, father of Dhruv Gupta, +91 98280 23248).
As many as 50 Indian seafarers died on merchant ships 2019 from 2018. Also, 22 seafarers have been reported missing. Above mentioned cases are only those which are reported in News Papers. Unreported death cases can be much more
The main reason for so many deaths has been found that in order to usurp the heavy amount of deceased Indian Seafarers’ Insurance, Ship Management Companies kill these Seafarers onboard where there is no one to surveillance on their activities.
Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India, and Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai are the mute spectators of such murders and merely give patronage to such criminal companies due to being given heavy gratification by these companies.
The Future of Safety in Shipping
The case also raises concerns about the practices of Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, as previous incidents and allegations of misconduct have been associated with the company. It is crucial for authorities to thoroughly investigate such claims and ensure that proper safety protocols are in place to protect the well-being of seafarers.
The plight of seafarers extends beyond this particular case. Seafarers often endure demanding working conditions, long periods away from home, and limited access to legal and medical support. The international community must address these challenges and work towards implementing stronger regulations to protect the rights and safety of seafarers worldwide.
As the trial of Sanjay Chaudhary’s alleged murderers continues, it is hoped that justice will be served and the truth behind his untimely death will be revealed. The case serves as a reminder that the maritime industry must prioritize the well-being and safety of its workforce and take swift action against any wrongdoing or misconduct.
In memory of Sanjay Chaudhary and all seafarers who have lost their lives under tragic circumstances, it is imperative to promote transparency, accountability, and better working conditions in the maritime industry, ensuring the protection and welfare of those who dedicate their lives to this essential global profession.