Saudi Aramco executive spent a week in Chamoli jail carrying a satellite phone

A senior executive of oil giant Saudi Aramco spent nearly a week in custody in Uttarakhand after being arrested by police for carrying a satellite phone without the authorities’ permission during a holiday in July. He was released after paying a fine of Rs 1,000.

Fergus McLeod, the head of investor relations at Saudi Aramco, told the UK’s Financial Times that he was arrested on July 12 at his hotel in the Valley of Flowers National Park. The 62-year-old was kept in the Chamoli city jail till July 18.

According to the FT report, officers detained the British executive after taking coordinates of the phone, which McLeod says he turned on and off at his hotel but didn’t use. At the same time, on vacation with friends, Some of whom were allies of Saudi Aramco.

A part of the Chamoli district lies on the Line of Actual Control with China.

Chamoli SP Shweta Choubey told The Deccan Era that Chamoli police caught the executive after carrying a satellite phone, which is against the rules – illegal to possess or use satellite phones in India by foreign nationals without prior approval, is unauthorized.

“He had no idea that it was not legal to carry satellite phones in India (without prior permission) and took them with him. That’s why he was taken into custody. There was nothing wrong with this process,” she said.

Narendra Singh Rawat, SHO of Chamoli’s Govind Ghat police station, said that on July 11, he had received information that a foreign national was carrying a satellite phone near the border.

“We sent a policeman to confirm that the man was carrying a satellite phone. It was confirmed. He was travelling to the Valley of Flowers and was taken into custody there.

“He was arrested under sections of the Indian Telegraph Act and the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act. After his arrest, he was sent to the district jail, where he remained till July 18 before getting bail. The matter ended on July 27 after paying a fine of Rs 1,000.

“We provided consular assistance to a British man in India,” said a spokesman for the British High Commission in New Delhi.


Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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