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Keralite’s extradition sought by Kuwait in school scandal

By T.P. Alexander – 03/01/2003

[The real story behind AsiaNet Channel]

Trivandrum [03/01/2003]: The confederation of Human Rights Organizations (CHRO), Kerala, has urged State Chief Minister A. K. Antony to pressure the Union Government to initiate suo motto steps to hand over to Asianet President K. P. Mohanan to the Kuwait Government.
Mohanan has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment by the apex Kuwait court for misappropriating a huge sum from the Kuwait-Indian School at Salmiyah.

In a petition to Antony, the CHRO said: “We join with the concern of Keralites aborad, especially in Kuwait, over the political maneuvers being launched by Mohanan, to avoid extradition and imprisonment following the Kuwait Supreme Court’s verdict sentencing him to eight years’ imprisonment”.

The petition noted that the verdict was pronounced by the Kuwait court last month after finding Mohanan and two other Keralites – Mathew Philip and Thomas Chandy alias Kuwait Chandy – guilty of siphoning off millions of rupees belonging to the Indian School, which is a major education institution of Keralites in the Gulf in their capacity as administrators of the school during the Gulf War.

According to reports, out of this booty, Mohanan had invested about Rs. 150 million in Asianet, a Malayalam TV channel and by virtue of which he became the president and managing editor.

The reports said Mohanan had been wielding political influence at the Central level, especially through Union Minister of State for Urban Development O. Rajagopal, to avoid extradition and imprisonment at Kuwait. The tacit understanding is said to be wider coverage through Asianet for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its militant wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Evidently, undue news coverage by Asianet to BJP and RSS leaders and events tend to support these reports, the petition observed.

It noted that as per the Kuwaiti law, Mohanan could file his appeal against the sentence to the Amir of Kuwait, but only after submitting himself for the punishment and from within Kuwait jail. Although there is no formal extradition treaty between India and Kuwait, convicts of such serious offenses had been handed over on request by either of the two countries and in view of their cordial diplomatic relationship.

Ever since the Kuwait school scam broke out and Mohanan reached Kerala the Kuwaiti authorities proclaimed him as a declared absconder and alerted the Interpol. Mohanan wields the same political clout at Delhi levels, with which he could avoid arrest, to escape imprisonment after present conviction by the highest court in Kuwait.

“The huge amount looted by Mohanan belonged to the Indian community in Kuwait, mostly Keralites. This had become a major issue of concern of all the Keralites abroad, especially in the Gulf region. It also posed a question mark on the honesty, reputation, image and law abiding nature of the whole Keralite community living in Gulf countries. As such, we consider that any attempt at the Central level to protect Mohanan will be harmful to the overall interests and well-being of the whole Keralite community living in Gulf countires”, the petition noted.

The petition stressed that it was imperative for the Kerala government to make serious efforts to thwart the present attempts of Mohanan to save himself at the cost of the reputation of the entire keralite population living abroad, especially in Kuwait.


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