A SCOT held in India could face another year detained without trial unless the UK Government presses for action, his lawyer claims.

Jagtar Singh Johal has been subject to almost 70 pre-trial hearings since his arrest by plain clothes officers in the Punjab region in November 2017.

The Dumbarton man – who claims to have been tortured by Punjab police and has been denied private legal meetings or contact with his family – was in India for his wedding and the arrest happened around one fortnight after. Authorities there say he helped fund the targeted killings of right-wing Hindus.

It is alleged that the 31-year-old gave £3000 to a man during a 2013 trip to France, with that money then used to fund assassinations four years later.

However, no evidence has yet been led against him and, in an exclusive interview with The National, his advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur says his client is not guilty.

On a visit to the Johal family and their supporters in Glasgow and Birmingham, Manjhpur said: “Jagtar is innocent. The prosecution case is not compelling enough to convict him. Furthermore, Jagtar has not been formally charged for the alleged target killings. Various statements were made in November 2017 and we are not any further forward.”

Despite a pledge from Foreign Office minister Rory Stewart that the UK would take “extreme action” if the torture claims are proven, no medical examination has taken place and neither Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt nor his predecessor Boris Johnson has met with the Johal family, who have accused Indian authorities of using “delaying tactics” in the case.

As we enter 2019, Manjhpur says the #FreeJaggiNow campaign – led by Johal’s brother Gurpreet, a Glasgow lawyer – has “kept Jagtar safe” from harm whilst in detention and delivered crucial international support from the Sikh diaspora in Scotland, Canada and elsewhere.

But, looking to the year ahead, he said delays in the case “haunt” his client, who is suffering “mental torture”.

Manjhpur, who also met with the family’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes during his visit to the UK, stated: “If the UK Government does not take the ‘extreme action’ promised then the case will not move far forward as the Indian authorities have adopted a delaying tactic to prolong matters.

“They could be lobbying for him to be released from detention while the case is ongoing. There have been other such cases.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office says its staff “continue to support a British man and his family following his detention in Punjab”, visiting him regularly and raising concerns with the government of India about the case, “including allegations of torture and mistreatment and his right to a fair trial”.

Docherty-Hughes said: “Meeting Jagtar’s lawyer brought me one step closer to meeting Jagtar himself and allowed me the opportunity to hear first hand from his legal team how he is feeling.

“It has also given myself and Jagtar’s family a better understanding of the political dynamic at play in the case, especially the role of the case in the upcoming Indian General election.

“My grave concern is that with no evidence being brought forward, the election in India will allow the state authorities to detain Jagtar indefinitely without due recourse to a fair and free trial. I have no confidence that the Foreign Secretary will have any influence in any shape or form given the weakness of the UK globally and the need for the UK to secure a trade deal with India after Brexit.”