A FATHER and former Army sniper remains trapped in India – almost two months after he expected to be reunited with his wife and daughter at their Chester home.
It is feared Ray Tindall could remain stuck “in limbo” until next month, as prosecutors in India decide whether to haul him in front of an appeal court.
The 38-year-old was part of a six-man team of ex-soldiers on board an anti-pirate ship impounded in October 2013.
He was accused of carrying weapons into Indian waters, and spent five months in prison before a judge later decided to throw out the charges on July 10 this year.
Mr Tindall, of The Crescent in Newton, thought he would be allowed to return to the UK within days.
But it has since emerged the Indian prosecution service has 90 days from the date of the judge’s decision to lodge an appeal.
Chester MP Stephen Mosley, who has been fighting to bring Mr Tindall home, told the Leader the case could yet end up in the Indian Supreme Court.
Prime Minister David Cameron has raised the issue with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, while Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg did the same during a recent visit to the country.
Mr Mosley said: “I’m very concerned by how long it is taking for Ray to be free and come home to Chester.
“It’s almost two months since the charges were quashed.
“We were all celebrating what we thought would be a swift return home, but the Indian prosecution have not yet decided whether they will appeal against the quashing.
“This has left Ray in a state of limbo, unable to get his passport and return home until he knows whether the case will go to the Indian Supreme Court.”
It is understood authorities in India could still return Mr Tindall’s passport to him and grant an exit visa before the 90-day appeal notice period expires.
“My office are in frequent contact with Ray and the Foreign Office,” Mr Mosley said.
“I’ve met with Foreign Office ministers and members of the Indian High Commission on several occasions, urging them to do all they can to bring this ordeal to an end.
“My thoughts go out to Ray and his family. I will continue to monitor the situation closely, urge for Ray’s speedy return home and look forward to welcoming him back to Chester.”
More than 50,000 people signed a petition urging the Government to push for the release of the six former soldiers.
Mr Tindall spent 17 years in the Army, seeing action in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq.
He was stationed with two different regiments, the First Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and the First Battalion Royal Welsh, then based at the Dale Barracks in Chester.