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Friends of ex-Balaji Telefilms COO Zulfiqar Khan start petition to bring him home

Khan’s friend Rajiv Dubey started a petition urging the PM to intervene and help find the executive who disappeared in Kenya.

By  Storyboard18Oct 19, 2022 7:52 PM
Friends of ex-Balaji Telefilms COO Zulfiqar Khan start petition to bring him home
Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan last worked as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Balaji Telefilms. Prior to that, he was also the Managing Director of the OTT platform, HOOQ, and the Business Head and Chief Revenue Officer of Eros Now. His disappearance in Kenya and lack of answers from Kenyan authorities has shocked the industry, which is banding together with friends and family to find Khan.

The friends and family of senior media executive Zulfiqar Khan, who went missing while vacationing in Kenya, has started a Change.org petition addressed to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his sudden disappearance. One of Khan’s friends Rajiv Dubey has kickstarted the petition urging the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter and help in finding Khan. The petition has 4, 721 signatures at the time of writing this article.

This assumes greater importance since reports have surfaced from Kenya that the abduction case of two Indian nationals is being closed. A report published on 12 October by a Kenyan news website Nation states that a team formed to probe the disappearance of two Indian nationals said to have come to the country to join President William Ruto’s election campaigns’ ICT team in April has completed its work and is set to hand the file to a higher authority.

Thereafter, it is expected that the team shall be directed to forward their file to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji for directions.

The two foreigners; Mohamed Zaid Sami Kidwai, Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan and their driver Nicodemus Mwania were reportedly abducted near the Ole Sereni area on 25 July and driven away in an unmarked car, Nation reported.

In a desperate attempt to urge Indian authorities to intervene in the matter, the Change.org petition outlines the events after Khan's disappearance - highlighting the fact that it has been almost 90 days since Khan was last reported missing and his whereabouts still remain unknown.

Highlighting the details and turn of events that might have led to Khan’s disappearance, the petition states that the Kenyan police have been asked by the country's High Court to produce Khan, but the police authorities are unaware of his whereabouts. It mentions that there are reports in Kenyan media that Khan was wrongly picked up, being mistaken for a 'cybersecurity expert'.

“The Ministry of External Affairs states that a police complaint has been filed in Kenya and that the issue is subjudice in the High Court of Kenya. They add that the Indian High Commission has been in touch with Kenyan authorities. Besides this they don't really have an update for him,” the petition reads.

This comes at a critical time when Khan’s friends and family are frantically reaching out to authorities to intervene in the matter.

On 13 October, Supreme Court lawyer, Ahmednasir Abdullahi, who was hired by the family, posted on micro blogging platform Twitter tagging Kenya's president William Samoei Ruto stating, “80 days after their abduction by Kenya's security officers the whereabouts of my clients, 2 Indian Nationals & their Kenyan driver remains a mystery. Family members are hopelessly desperate. I petition H.E @WilliamsRuto to get to the bottom of this sad affair & give us answers.”

With close to two decades of experience, Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan last worked as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Balaji Telefilms. Prior to that, he was also the Managing Director of the OTT platform, HOOQ, and the Business Head and Chief Revenue Officer of Eros Now.

Zulfi started his media career as a trainee with Star India and grew to be the Senior Vice President of advertising sales where he managed several channels like Star Plus, Star Gold, Star Sports, National Geographic and Channel V, among others.

According to his friends, as an avid traveller, Zulfiqar took a trip to Kenya to experience a new country and immerse himself in the local culture.

Ajit Varghese, Chief Commercial Officer, ShareChat and Moj, tells Storyboard18 that as a friend, colleague and being part of the advertising industry, he would sincerely urge all stakeholders to help Zulfi’s family find an answer on his whereabouts in Nairobi.

"With such an affable person, always smiling, always helpful Zulfi is not an easy person to forget for anybody who has worked with him, done business, played sports, networked or just met him anytime. I would sincerely ask all the industry colleagues to raise the request to our government to help #bringackZulfi, for his parents, for his friends and for India’s sake. How can we sit in silence when an Indian national goes missing and how can we let Kenyan government go on with daily business when they can’t be held accountable for Indians vanishing on their soil. I'm at a loss of words but not resting till we get an answer and get him back," he concludes.

First Published on Oct 18, 2022 10:28 AM