No more an Indian, trouble piles on Henry
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A day after the Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division) ceased his Indian citizenship, former Punjab minister and senior Congress leader Avtar Henry wrote to the Centre challenging the order and is exploring legal options.
"I have appealed to the Joint Secretary (Immigration) in MEA challenging the orders. I may move court also," Henry said. "How can one say I am not an Indian citizen?"
The MHA had ceased Henry's Indian citizenship from the date he acquired British citizenship and passport in 1969, paving way for him to be booked for cheating, fraud and forgery.
However, Henry questioned the move. "I went to the UK in1960 and was granted and was granted British Citizenship and passport in 1968. However, I returned to India in 1969 and a year later I applied for Indian citizenship. In 1981, I applied for and got the Indian passport as by birth I am an Indian," Henry said. "I have been living in India for last 43 years ."
While Henry is at liberty to acquire Indian citizenship by following the procedures laid down under the law, he may face legal trouble, including being thrown into the jail, for not surrendering his British citizenship and holding two passports. He concealed the fact while contesting the elections to the Punjab Assembly six times — in 1986, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012. He thrice (1992, 1997 and 2002) and was a minster in Congress-led governments from 1992 to 1997 and 2002 to 2007.
Experts said now that he is not an MLA, the election commission cannot take action against him, but the Punjab assembly can stop his pension if someone moves a complaint against him.
Principal Secretary (Home) DS Bains said the state will explore legal opinion before deciding future course of action. "We have been intimated by the MHA that he is no more an Indian citizen. We will take the legal opinion (before recommending action)," he said.
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