A newspaper in India is reporting that there are developments in the sad case of Neha Chhikara, who died after going overboard from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Monarch of the Seas on New Year’s Eve. Ms. Chhikara was sailing aboard the cruise ship with her husband, Ankit Dalal, who is described as working on the Monarch as a "manager" of some type. She was about to start working as a guest relations manager.
Ms. Chhikara’s family accuses Mr. Dalal and his family of abusing their daughter as part of a "dowry dispute." She is alleged to have jumped overboard because she could not stand the physical and emotional abuse caused by her husband. In return, the Dalal family accused their daughter-in-law of being emotionally imbalanced. We have written many articles about the incident.
The Sify News is now reporting that a "vigilance department" in India, which is investigating the complaint of "harassment for dowry," has received a report from "U.S. officials" regarding the death. It is less than clear who in the U.S. is investigating Ms. Chhikara’s death; perhaps it is the FBI. The newspaper mentions that the U.S. report allegedly "indicts" Mr. Dalal, at least according to the Chhikara family.
It is also unclear why the U.S. is investigating an incident involving two Indian nationals on a foreign flagged cruise ship in international waters. Uncertainty of who will take jurisdiction is one of the problems which families of crew members face when their loved ones disappear from cruise ships.
The Indian Express reports that the report was a "joint report" by the the "U.S. authorities and the Bahamas government."
The Monarch is registered in Nassau, Bahamas and the cruise ship was sailing from Nassau to CocoCay, Bahamas at the time of her disappearance overboard. There is no information being reported now that was not contained in the initial reports of the incident. See our report on January 1, 2010 – Wife of Royal Caribbean Crew Member on Monarch of the Seas Goes OverBoard.
Photograph of Neha Chhikara and Ankit Dalal FaceBook