The India Times is continuing to follow the case of Neha Chhikara.
Ms. Chhikara disappeared from Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas on December 31, 2009 following allegations that her husband, Royal Caribbean crew member Ankit Dalal, physically and emotionally abused her.
In an article entitled "Search Operations Off, Gurgaon’s Woman’s Family Says Husband Has Gone Missing," the Chhikara family alleges that Mr. Dalal has gone “missing” after the Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned to port in Port Canaveral.
The story reflects the struggle to obtain information which families experience when they lose a loved one from a cruise ship.
The investigating authorities (the Bahamas Maritime Authority and the FBI) have apparently provided no information to the family or the police in India. The cruise line is not cooperating with the family who does not even know where the Royal Caribbean crew member is at this time. Meanwhile, the article reports that the police in India are waiting on information from the U.S. before they proceed with their investigation.
Cruise line investigations are highly secretive. The investigation conducted by Royal Caribbean is designed to protect its own legal interests and its marketing image. Getting information from the FBI is like squeezing blood from a stone. And the investigation by the Bahamas – which is the flag country for the cruise ship – will likely be slanted in favor of the cruise line.
The Chhikara family has not even spoken to their son-in-law. Certainly Royal Caribbean has interviewed him multiple times. The cruise line should send these statements to the family now, and not subject them to further torture after losing their daughter on Royal Caribbean’s watch.
Photograph of Ms. Chhikara India Times