Neither the Portuguese police nor the Indian embassy in Portugal knows about 38-year-old Tarun Khokhar’s whereabouts.
An Indian national has been missing in Portugal for the last 23 days and neither the Portuguese police nor the Indian embassy in Portugal has a clue about his whereabouts till now, leaving the parents and relatives of the 38-year-old in India worried about his safety and security.
Tarun Khokhar, a resident of Pitampura in Delhi, went missing from Lisbon in Portugal on the night of 7 June 2023 and since then, Tarun’s landlord in Portugal and his relatives back in India are running from pillar to post to get some information about the man.
The Sunday Guardian spoke to Sanjeev Khokhar, the elder brother of Tarun who works at an IT company in Delhi and lives with his parents in Pitampura, Delhi. Sanjeev Khokhar said that since he got the news about his brother missing in Lisbon, Portugal, he has reached out to all the authorities including the Minister of State for External Affairs, Meenakshi Lekhi, but nothing so far has been done in this matter.
“I have written letters to the Indian embassy in Portugal, I have written to the Minister of External Affairs, India, I have also written to the Portuguese embassy in India, I have spoken to the Lisbon police, I also reached out to Meenakshi Lekhi, but I was told that she is busy in Bhopal and that I should send her an email, which I have already done. Nothing has happened so far and we are hitting a deadend. I am not even sure if my brother is alive or dead,” Sanjeev told The Sunday Guardian with tears filled in his eyes.
According to Sanjeev, Tarun had last spoken to his mother on the afternoon on 7 June 2023 and since then his phone has been switched off. However, as per Tarun’s landlord in Lisbon, Tarun returned home from his office in Lisbon and had dinner, after which he said that he was going for a party with his friends and would return late in the night, but Tarun never returned.
“After Tarun did not come back home even till late afternoon, we got a call from the landlord, asking if we have been able to speak to him. After this, we have been trying to contact him, but his phone is switched off. As per his WhatsApp records, he was last seen on the messaging app at 11:30 pm Portuguese time on 7 June. He has not switched on his phone since then. We contacted his office, we spoke to some of his friends, but no one knows where he is,” Sanjeev told this newspaper.
Tarun moved to Portugal some five years back for a better life. He was working in the municipal department in Portugal and was living in Lisbon at a rented accommodation. The parents and brother of Tarun, with the help of his landlord, registered an FIR with the Lisbon police, but according to Sanjeev, the Lisbon police has told them that they would not be able to do much in this matter since the man is an adult and they have seen several cases where people move out without informing anyone and come back after a few months.
“They have told us to wait. We also asked them to share the last location of Tarun or his call records with us, but they are not responding. We also applied for a visa for Portugal as we wanted to go there and search for our brother, but the Portuguese embassy denied us the visa,” Sanjeev said.
The Sunday Guardian also reached out to the Portuguese embassy and the Lisbon police to know if there is any update in the matter, but have not received any response, till the time of going to press.
Sanjeev said that they have been in regular touch with the Indian embassy in Portugal and that the officers at the Indian embassy in Portugal have said that they have already informed the local police and the local police is the authority concerned that will be able to take action in this case.
The Sunday Guardian reached out to the Indian embassy in Portugal for a response to the story, however it did not receive any response till the time of going to press.