Protest businessman faces deportation

The Indian-born chairman of the Thai-Indian business association is facing deportation for his participation in anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protests.

The Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) on Tuesday told a news conference that it had asked the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) to expedite the arrest of PDRC leaders on charges of insurrection, leading demonstrators to occupy government offices, and obstructing election voting. 

The centre also said it would ask the RTPO and Immigration Bureau to have chairman of the Thai-Indian business association Satish Sehgal deported from Thailand since he is a foreign national who had colluded with PDRC leaders in breaking laws on several occasions, including violating the emergency decree.

Mr Satish has appeared as a speaker on stage at PDRC rallies.

Last week, Department of Special Investigation chief and CMPO member Tarit Pengdith said he will provide information about foreign nationals who have joined the protest to immigration police for background checks. Mr Tarit accused Mr Satish of defying the emergency decree. 

But Mr Satish said he did not understand why the CMPO was targeting him, claiming that he had stopped all involvement in PDRC protests and rally stage appearances since the 60-day emergency decree was enforced on Jan 22. 

He said he criticised the caretaker government over economic issues in his capacity of the chairman of Thai-Indian business association while appearing on stage, but never harangued anyone. 

Mr Satish was born in India but has been living in Thailand for 55 years and regards himself as a Thai person.

He has served as a ministerial adviser to six governments, including administrations led by Chuan Leekpai, Thaksin Shinawatra and Abhisit Vejjajiva.      

“When I went to negotiate with the Indian government, I sat on the Thai bench and always protected Thailand’s interests," Mr Satish said. "I helped Thai-India trade value increase from one billion to ten billion baht, not to mention my continuing charity work. For my work records, I never take tea money or bribes. So I want to ask, do I really deserve this?"

Mr Satish added that he is yet to be informed of the details of the allegations the DSI is filing against him. 

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