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Preet Bharara Withdraws Case Against Modi

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As predicted by myself on this very forum the U.S. and Mr. Preet Bharara (Khalistani sympathizer) are now taking the first step towards withdrawing this case.


he office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara on Sunday, October 19, in papers filed with the US District Court in Manhattan strongly argued in favour of immunity for Prime Mimister Narendra Modi in a pending lawsuit against Modi that has been brought by an organisation based in the United States.

In papers filed with the court, Bharara's office stated, 'Of the interest of the United States in the pending lawsuit against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the sitting head of government of the Republic of India, and hereby informs the court that Prime Minister Modi is immune from this suit.'

Thus, this action by Bharara's office, categorically knocked down the false contention in some quarters in the Indian media that Bharara was behind the summons to Modi, which Justice Department sources had described as "ridiculous" and said the action by Bharara's office clearly proved that "the opposite is true," since it had submitted papers to the Manhattan District Court in favor of immunity for Modi.

On September 26, a senior White House official declared that the summons issued against Modi by a New York court on the eve of his arrival in the US, for his alleged role in the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat when he was the state's chief minister would have no effect at all because he enjoys full immunity as a visiting head of State.

The official, briefing reporters on background in a teleconference call, asked about the summons against Modi issued on September 25 by the US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York on a civil lawsuit filed by the New York-based American Justice Centre, a non-profit human rights organisation, along with two survivors of the post-Godhra violence, said, "We are aware from press reports of the lawsuit filed against Prime Minister Modi in the Federal District Court of New York," and that "while we cannot comment specifically on this lawsuit, I can tell you that as a general legal principle, sitting heads of government enjoy immunity from suits in American courts."

Obviously prepared for the question, the official went on to say that "sitting heads of government also enjoy personal inviolability while in the United States, which means they cannot be personally handed over or delivered papers or summons to begin the process of a lawsuit."

"In addition, as a matter of treaty, heads of delegations to the United Nations General Assembly enjoy immunity while in New York to attend UN events," the official said.

The court had said that Modi had to respond to the summons within 21 days after it was served on him.

Modi left for New Delhi on September 30 after he concluded his five-day US visit, which included participating in the UN General Assembly sessions, an address to the Indian-American community at Madison Square Garden, a White House summit with President Barack Obama, a meeting with the Congressional leadership on Capitol Hill in House Speaker John Boehner's chambers and dozens of other meetings and events.

The lawsuit against Modi had been filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act. Seeking compensatory and punitive damages, the 28-page complaint charged Modi with committing crimes against humanity, extra-judicial killings, torture and inflicting mental and physical trauma on the victims, mostly from the Muslim community.

'The Tort case against Prime Minister Modi is an unequivocal message to human rights abusers everywhere,' said John Bradley, director, AJC. 'Time and place and the trappings of power will not be an impediment to justice,' he said.

The Alien Tort Claims Act, also known as the Alien Tort Statute, is a US federal law first adopted in 1789 that gives the federal courts jurisdiction to hear lawsuits filed by US residents for acts committed in violation of international law outside the US.

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