Huawei India chief executive officer Li Xiongwei’s lawyer apparently borrowed a line from Bollywood superstart Shah Rakh Khan’s movie and told a Delhi court last week, “I am a Chinese (national) and not a terrorist” in a response to the income tax (I-T) department’s opposition to his bail plea.
Not a terrorist
In Shah Rukh Khan’s movie, titled ‘My name is Khan’, his character says: “My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist.”
The I-T department has been opposing his bail plea and told the Delhi court that India does not have an extradition treaty with China and if Li leaves for his home country, it would “be very difficult” to bring him back.
The department has informed the court that the investigation is still underway, it said in its affidavit posted in response to a plea filed by Li seeking the quashing of a look-out circular (LOC) issued against him, which prevents him from travelling abroad.
Li’s lawyer Vijay Agarwal objected to the I-T department’s demand for opposing bail in a “bailable offence”, arguing that the look out notice against him was “misuse” of power. He added that such a curb can only be issued for a cognisable offence, according to a report by the Economic Times.
The department, however, argued that the lookout circular was correct and as per the provisions of law and told the court that there are no grounds for it to be revoked in the present scenario.
“…rights of an individual need to be balanced with safeguarding the interest of the prosecuting and investigating agencies. Foremost in the present case would be the economic interest of the country,” the department added in its affidavit.
As per the report, the Delhi court bench said, “What if tomorrow he flies (to China) and never returns?,” observing that it would have to examine safeguards to ensure that the India head returns to India if allowed to visit China.
Huge blow to Huawei’s reputation
Li was stopped on May 1 at New Delhi airport and was barred from boarding a flight to Bangkok to attend a meeting on behalf of Huawei India. He had then termed the LoC as a “huge blow” to his and the company’s reputation.
The department had conducted search and seizure operations on February 15, 2022. The authority had then said that Huawei India failed to provide any substantial and appropriate justification on tax claims during income tax raids on its offices in three Indian cities.
It also reportedly submitted that the CEO and other staff of Huawei had then “wilfully skirted” compliance and indulged in shifting the “responsibility/accountability to the next shoulder.”
Huawei India fully cooperating
Huawei India, however, said that it was fully cooperating with the authorities and has submitted the requisite information and clarification as sought by the authorities from time to time. Huawei India’s future is uncertain in India after Indian telcos Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel awarded 5G network contracts to Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung. Airtel is also planning to phase out Huawei from its 4G wireless network soon, as per reports.
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