New Delhi: Over 6,000 Indians are currently languishing in foreign jails with maximum of 1,691 being lodged in Saudi Arabia.
External Affairs Salman Khurshid, replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, said a total of 6,293 Indians are imprisoned in various countries.
He said 1,012 Indians are lodged in jails in United Arab Emirates followed by 441 in the US, 426 people in United Kingdom, 377 in neighbouring Nepal, 279 in Qatar and 225 in Kuwait.
The number of Indians lodged in Pakistani prisons is 224 while 114 people are languishing in jails in Australia, 167 in Bangladesh, 187 in Malaysia, 52 in Iran and 27 in Afghan prisons.
Indians are also lodged in jails in various other countries including Greece, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Cyprus, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Khurshid said generally the offences for which Indians land in foreign jails include violation of visa rules such as overstay and illegal entry, non-possesion of valid travel documents, economic offences and violation of employment contracts.
"However, there are also a few cases of grave offences like drug trafficking, theft, murder etc committed by Indian nationals," he said.
The Minister said Indian Missions utilise the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) to provide legal assistance in deserving cases.