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The central government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it had never taken into custody Fasih Mahmood, an engineer from Bihar who went missing in Saudi Arabia, and was trying to ascertain his whereabouts.

The centre told an apex court bench of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice JS Khehar that it was in contact with the Saudi authorities to find out Fasih Mahmood’s whereabouts.

Additional Solicitor General Gourab Banerjee told the court that the external affairs ministry will speak to the Saudi Arabian ambassador in New Delhi, and the Indian ambassador in Riyadh will take up the matter with the Saudi authorities.

Fasih Mahmood is an engineer from Bihar who went missing in Saudi Arabia.

On this, the court asked: “Where is Fasih Mahmood?”

It further said: “The case is very serious. We need to know where he is.”

Banerjee told the court that “normally it was difficult for the Indian government to interact with its Saudi counterparts, as they don’t respond on such matters.”

Counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan, appearing for the petitioner Nikhat Parveen, Fasih’s wife, told the court that Mahmood was in the custody of the police in India and the government started reacting to the situation only after the intervention of the apex court.

At this, the court observed that since the centre has said that Fasih Mahmood was not in its custody, it will wait for further information from the government when the matter next comes up for hearing June 11.

Fasih Mahmood, employed as engineer in Saudi Arabia, was allegedly picked up by intelligence agencies from Al Jubal May 13.

The 35-year-old hails from Barh Saaila village in Darbhanga district of Bihar, about 200 km from Patna. Fasih’s father, Firoz Ahmad, is in-charge of the Benipatti primary health centre in Madhubani district. His mother is a school teacher in Darbhanga.

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