Jeddah: A Telugu NRI who was stranded in Saudi Arabia for nearly four years due to hospital bill dispute has finally returned home after winning a long legal battle. The victim, Shaikh Arif (30) of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh had met with an accident in 2015 in Taif. He was rescued and rushed to the King Abdulaziz Hospital in Taif by the traffic police and emergency ambulance teams. He had spent more than 11 months, including three months in a state of coma in the hospital.
Unable to find a job after the release from hospital, Arif decided to return home but the shock of his life came when the passport authorities told him that he was barred by the court from leaving Saudi as he is wanted by the police for nonpayment of his hospital bill amounting 2,10,670 Riyals (Rs 39 lakh).
Arif with the help of a Hyderabadi doctor Fayaz and a social worker from Kerala, Yousuf, had approached the court and pleaded that Arif was a victim but not accused in the road accident case. After hearing the plea, the court in Taif, where he was brought by ambulance, transferred the court to Baha, where the accident occurred. Arif had spent over a year and a half attending court trials in Baha.
The court reviewed the case and set free Arif from any fee liabilities and revoked his travel ban. It also ordered the Saudi citizen, who was responsible for the mishap, to pay compensation to the victim. The court ordered the Saudi citizen to pay him a compensation of 2.7 lakh Riyals (Rs 50 lakh). However, he settled for 2 lakhs. Despite winning the case, Arif’s ordeal in Saudi continued as he was not able to in-cash compensation amount because of the expired visa. He approached the court again and solved the case again.