This week, the Hindu BusinessLine reported on the rising desperation inside the Modi regime as they attempt to evade paying the more than $1.5 billion owed to shareholders of Devas.
The Indian government has now sought to declare Devas founder, Ramachandran Viswanathan, an “Economic Fugitive” in the bogus Prevention of Money Laundering Act case against him.
The Enforcement Directorate, an arm of the Prime Minister’s finance ministry, has conjured up allegations of money laundering and fraud against Mr. Viswanathan and now seeks his extradition to India to face one of Modi’s kangaroo courts.
The “Economic Fugitive” status India seeks for Mr. Viswanathan is just another tactic in a long list of abusive techniques used by the Modi regime to harass and intimidate Devas from enforcing its rights.
Read the full article from the Hindu BusinessLine here.
India’s “Thuggish Behavior” against Devas Escalates with Red Notice Request
Last week, the Daily Caller reported that they had spoken to Ted Bromund, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation and recognized expert on Interpol, who observed that India “commits more abuse than people are aware of.” Bromund warned that “governments can abuse the system to go after political dissidents, including uncooperative businessmen like Viswanathan.”
The Daily Caller also met with Mr. Viswanathan for an exclusive sit down where he spoke out about the Modi government’s campaign of “lawless behavior” in their desperate effort to pressure Devas shareholders to end their global enforcement efforts.
The interview revealed for the first time that the Indian government has sought a Red Notice from Interpol for the arrest of Mr. Viswanathan.
McGill commented that the Indian government’s actions amounted to an “intimidation campaign” and an international warrant for Mr. Viswanathan’s arrest would be “manufactured based on wholly fabricated allegations.”
Interpol is yet to issue a ruling on the request but did reach out to the Indian government in May with more questions about their request against Mr. Viswanathan. Bromund notes the delay is likely because Interpol has “grave concerns” about the request from India.
Read the full article from the Daily Caller here.
Freedom House Exposes Transnational Repression Occurring at the Hands of the Modi Regime
Last month, the Washington Post highlighted a new Freedom House report, Defending Democracy in Exile, which focuses on increasingly aggressive cases of transnational repression by autocratic regimes looking to silence opponents.
The Freedom House report details a stark increase in worldwide cases of transnational repression in 2021, with 85 new cases of “public, direct, physical incidents of transnational repression” reported last year alone. The 42-page indictment warns of an alarming uptick of “brazen” actions by these regimes that seek to exploit international bodies like Interpol to advance their political agenda. The report names a number of countries that “demonstrated a dangerous disregard for international law, democratic norms, and state sovereignty”, including the Indian government.
Modi Government: “Physical Transnational Repression”
According to Freedom House, the Modi government has escalated the use of “physical transnational repression”, targeting the physical health and safety of those who assert their rights and defy the dictates of the Modi regime abroad.
Like other autocratic regimes, the report draws attention to the Modi government’s pursuit of political opponents outside its borders noting that these regimes are “increasingly and more aggressively disregarding US laws to threaten, harass, surveil, stalk, and even plot to physically harm people across the country.”
The author of the report, Yana Gorokhovskaia, explained that these regimes are promoting the idea that “people do not have the right to criticize those in power, no matter where they are in the world — not only at home but once they leave home as well.”
Under the Hindu nationalist rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has turned to authoritarianism. A 2021 report by Amnesty International showed that journalists, media outlets, and activists were “threatened and intimidated through the misuse of over-broad financial laws.” Political opposition and government critics face similar persecution, with Human Rights Watch noting these opposition voices “are accused of sedition, criminal defamation, or terrorism” and then face arbitrary detention and harassment.
The Berkley Journal of International Law details the Modi regime’s history of these violations, discussing how their attempts to silence outspoken activists, political opposition, and other voices, “by the use of force, arrests, internet shutdowns, and human rights violations” are all part of a broader pattern in Modi’s India that is “neither unprecedented nor surprising.”
Recently, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke of increasing cases of religious repression in India, stating “in India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, we have seen rising attacks on people and places of worship.” His comments come just weeks after the Secretary declared the U.S. was closely monitoring India because of a “rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials.” Amnesty International has condemned the Modi government’s attacks on political opposition, noting they threaten the “well-being and human rights of millions.”
Bogus Red Notices; U.S. Congress Takes Hard Line
As the Washington Post explains, transnational repression is hard for any one country to fix. Organizations like Interpol are often the first port of call by the authoritarian governments, issuing “Red Notices against dissidents and exiles” as part of their intimidation and harassment campaign, and in the hope that unsuspecting governments will extradite them back to their motherland.
The U.S. Congress has had enough, and is demanding greater action from the U.S. Departments of Justice and State in the face of these tactics by autocratic regimes. U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) were successful in securing the inclusion of language in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act that requires the Attorney General and Secretary of State to ensure Interpol is not used as a vehicle by these regimes to “harass or persecute political opponents, human rights defenders, or journalists.”
Millions Seized by Devas Shareholders
Despite the Modi government’s campaign of harassment, their use of physical transnational repression and continued unlawful behavior, Devas shareholders recently announced they have $55 million of monies held by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) that belong to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Air India (AI) under a seizure order.
At the time this was announced, Matthew D. McGill, stated, “Devas will be relentless in its efforts to enforce our lawful international arbitral awards in courts around the world. We will not be intimidated by baseless allegations or the Government of India’s efforts to harass award holders through the use of government-controlled agencies.”
Read the full story of the seizure here.
For a complete timeline of the decade-long struggle for justice by Devas and its shareholders in the face of the Indian government’s unlawful and bullying actions, click here.