Sunday, 11 March 2018

Send them back

This blogger knows a thing or two about procuring visas , having had to endure this torture hundreds of times for nearly 30 years now. Indians, as is generally well known, are not welcome anywhere. The visa regimes of every country is designed to make it as difficult as possible for an Indian to visit. Note - the word is "visit" and not "stay".

You sign all sorts of declarations and produce all sorts of proofs before you will even be considered for a visa. You have to produce a ton of documents (my favourite is the Australian visa for which I once had to produce 723 pages). You have to make all sorts of declarations (my favourite is a US declaration that says you have not kidnapped somebody below 18 years of age - there is no requirement to declare that you have not kidnapped somebody above 18 years of age). You solemnly swear to everything under the sun in the fine print.  My favourite is the UK requirement in the past (thankfully no longer there)  that if you are a lady going to get married to somebody in the UK, you swear that you are a virgin, which will subsequently be tested by somebody inserting her hand in to test whether your hymen is intact (I am not kidding). After all this you are subjected to the ignominy of a visa interview where you stand in a long and winding queue outside the embassy starting from 4.00 AM in the morning, then wind your way inside a virtual jail till you come into a prison like counter where you face a visa officer. He or she can , and does, reject your visa application simply because he/she/it does not like the look of your face . Period. That's it. No chance of even appealing.

All this is a long and elaborate preamble to illustrate how the very same countries completely flip 180 degrees if you are an economic offender who has fled your country.  You are now welcomed with open arms. Suddenly human rights of the alleged offender take precedence over everything else.  The very same United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (of the virginity test fame) will shield the alleged economic offender until its very last breath and allow him to stay indefinitely in the country. 

There is a long and illustrious list of alleged crooks who have fled India - Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya, Jatin Mehta, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi et al. If you are interested, the exact number of such luminaries is 184. The modus operandi is usually the same. As soon as the heat starts to be felt and you feel that you are likely to get caught, flee the country. And then claim that you are being harassed , fear for your life, etc etc and stay put. Uncle Sam, Old Blighty and all the rest will freely protect you.

Sure, this lot has obtained permanent residency in these countries sometime in the past. So ? You  sign all the honest to god statements that you have to do for a mere visa to visit. Probably you swear to a few more things before you get permanent residency. This is not citizenship; just permanent residency. You still remain an Indian citizen , bound by the laws of India. If you have then violated them, why isn't permanent residency revoked ?

I can understand protecting those undergoing political persecution, those who are fleeing from war, and those who might be killed if returned. But these are economic offenders. If they are returned to India, they will be put through due legal process in a court of law. The Indian justice system may not be perfect, but it isn't arbitrary and without merit. Even with the greatest of ingenuity, the argument cannot be made that India is a lawless country. So what is the logic in not sending them straight back.

The long list of luminaries referred to earlier are Indian citizens. They are subject to the laws of India. The government of India has revoked their passports. Any foreign government, in whose jurisdiction they are staying,  are hypocrites in not returning them to India forthwith. 

I am not welcome to even transit through Heathrow, let alone visit the UK (the same visa process applies even if you are transiting and not entering the country). Mr Vijay Mallya is free to stay for as long as he wishes to and will be protected by Her Majesty. Shame on you, and every other country harbouring these 184 worthies.


Rads said...

Yass I'm the first to's been forever since I did on your blog! I was wondering when you would blog about this issue.
Yes I agree being an Indian passport holder is a curse when you want to travel / visit different countries. I have not visited my brother in US for many years only because I don't want to go through the grueling visa process. The same reason why my parents find it difficult to visit me even though they really want to. And the hefty visa fees is another issue. That's why most who can afford go through travel companies. And it's not like getting an Indian passport is any easy. Maybe the foreign countries think Indian govt distributes free visas without any documentation and background checking.
I think India should start welcoming such foreign crooks to come and live with us and offer them back to their countries in exchange for our crooks. Maybe that will work.

Ramesh said...

@Rads - That's an interesting idea. Return the compliment. Bernie Madoff, Rajarathinam, Shkreli - please apply :):)

Anne in Salem said...

Interesting. A topic about which I knew nothing. Perhaps it could be called economic asylum. Send them back - force them to pay their debt. Cowards.

You can have Shkreli and his unethical smirk, but I shudder to think how many millions he'd swindle as a resident of India.

Ramesh said...

@Anne - Shkreli is an interesting case. If you discount the fact that he pissed everybody as much as any human being can do with his antics, the legal case against him is a relatively trivial one. He became the most hated man in America because of what he did with the price of a few drugs and then openly boasting about it ( many companies do precisely the same thing but keep quiet). But the securities fraud he did isn't a serious one. He did mislead investors, but didn't lose their money; they did get their money back. More an Al Capone moment. They nailed him on a lesser transgression, because they couldn't get him on the drug price issue and the the way he behaved over it.

gils said... of the story is rather than work visa apply for asylum and you would be treated royally. Semmma...will apply for the next 1000 crore loan

Ramesh said...

@Gilsu - Ha Ha. Gilsu is a national treasure. We will not allow Gilsu to move even 1 inch from Chennai; loan or no loan :)

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