Not given a fair trail in Czech, Indian alleges racism
A 46-year-old Indian national has been allegedly implicated in a $3.3 million tax evasion case, as a consequence of ‘racism’ he had experienced since his stay in Czech Republic for two decades. His family sees the origin of atrocities, as a state orchestrated “gruesome violation” of human rights.
Ravi Bhalla has been residing in Czech since 1991. He has a restaurant in Prague main market. He has his own house and land holdings in Prague. Ravi was arrested in March 2008 for evading taxes. A municipal court there convicted Ravi in December 2009 and sentenced him to 5 years in jail.
The trial was conducted in the absence of factual documentary evidence, which included account notebooks and other records. The court noted that the evidence was “purposely alienated” from the course of the trial. In classic case judicial mess-up, the court recorded, “Not a single original of the said notebooks was available at the trial in court”. Despite this, Ravi was convicted.
Speaking to HT from Prague, Ravi said “I was never given a fair trial. The authorities have confiscated my passport though I am on bail. They have frozen all my assets and have torn apart my family life”.
When Ravi appealed to the higher court in Prague his petition was disposed off after a closed door meeting between the judge and prosecution in his absence.
Vishnu Prakash, spokerperson for the ministry of external affairs said, “We will look into the matter and do our best”.
Raman Bhalla, Ravi’s elder brother, has written to the ministry seeking intervention. “This is racism against the Indian nationals, who are successful. The local authorities have conspired to bankrupt my brother. The Indian embassy in Prague is just being a mute spectator.”