In early September, a special court in the Indian city of Bengaluru bowed to the whim of the Indian Enforcement Directorate (ED) and declared Devas Multimedia co-founder, Ramachandran Visawanathan, a “Fugitive Economic Offender.”

The “issuance of notice” handed down by the special court was in response to an earlier request filed by the ED under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act – 2018. The status allows the ED to further harass Mr. Viswanathan by seeking the seizure of his assets in India and abroad that are identified as “proceeds of a crime”.

The Indian government has concocted a baseless case against Mr. Viswanathan and other former Devas employees based on wholly manufactured claims of money laundering brought under India’s draconian “Prevention of Money Laundering Act” – a common tactic employed by the Indian government to charge, detain, and prosecute their enemies.

It is being done purely to target and punish Mr. Viswanathan for asserting his rights against the government in global courts.

The actions taken by the ED and the special court also underscore just how severe of an authoritarian spiral the Modi-led regime in India has taken. A frightening decline in the rule of law and the weaponization of state bodies like the courts and law enforcement have only served to harm India’s global reputation and demonstrate to the world how the government treats its citizens and its foreign investors.

Ultimately, the decision from the special court to designate Mr. Viswanathan a Fugitive Economic Offender only serves the strengthen the case outlined in Frontiers of Freedom’s Global Magnitsky Act petition submitted last month. Despite having the thuggish behavior and lawless actions of top government officials exposed to U.S. government officials, the Indian government has continued its pursuit of Mr. Viswanathan.

As the attacks persist, and the behavior worsens, the case for severe economic and visa sanctions against India’s top officials will grow stronger. As the government pursues Mr. Viswanathan with other lawless tactics, the list of offenders will grow, and Frontiers of Freedom, alongside Mr. Viswanathan’s counsel, stand ready to challenge the government’s claims.

See below for a quote from President and CEO of Frontiers of Freedom, George Landrith:

“The decision from the special court in Bengaluru was no doubt handed down at the behest of India’s grossly corrupt Enforcement Directorate, as directed by Prime Minister Modi and his comrades. As the rule of law in India declines, the case against the government and its top officials grows stronger. The fraudulent action by this arm of the Modi government is designed to terrorize an American citizen and cripple his ability to exercise his legal rights in U.S. and international courts. This will not go unchecked. Not by Frontiers of Freedom. Not by his counsel. And not by the U.S. government.”

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