The Indian embassy yesterday asked a worker to go to court to get his passport back from the employer since there was nothing else they could do.
Driver Abdul Nazir, from Kerala, complained to the embassy his sponsor had refused to return his passport even when he had a new job and was refusing to pay his five months' pending wages.
He also claimed he needed to urgently travel home to take care of his ailing mother.
Social worker Promod Nair, speaking on Mr Nazir's behalf, said since his company had not paid him for five months till last October, Mr Nazir had got another job. "For that he needed his passport but the company refused to hand it over.
"When Mr Nazir gave in his resignation, company officials refused to accept it so Mr Nazir sent the letter by registered post.
"When he tried to hand over the company keys in his possession, officials refused to accept them so he handed the keys over to a colleague before he left."
Mr Nair claimed the company was insisting Mr Nazir apologise in writing for his alleged wrongdoings if he wanted his passport back.
"He is not willing to do that because he says he is not guilty.
"He has followed all legal procedures but the company is not willing to part with his passport."
He said the Indian embassy initially asked Mr Nazir to go to the Labour Ministry, which he did. "He also went to the Hoora and Gudaibya police stations but nothing has happened.
"He is now desperate to go home and needs help but he has now been advised to go to court."
Indian embassy first secretary Ajay Kumar told media persons later the embassy could not force an employer to hand over an employee's passport. "The only recourse in such cases is to go to court."