BANGKOK: A leading Indian businessman, facing deportation from Thailand for participating in anti-government rallies defying the state of emergency, on Sunday said he would not leave the country despite the action taken against him.
Satish Sehgal, former chairman of the India-Thai business forum, denied that he was taking refuge inside the Indian Embassy and said he was at his home and would not flee because he was confident that he had done nothing wrong.
"Whatever the outcome of my case, I insist I will not leave Thailand because this is my dearest home," he was quoted by Nation newspaper as saying.
Sehgal, who has been living in Thailand for over 50 years but still hold an Indian passport, claimed he was not a core leader of the anti-government protest and had carried out political activities to protect the country and its institutions.
At the same time, he announced to end his political activities with the anti-government Peoples Democratic Reforms Committee (PDRC), which has been holding protests across Bangkok for the past two months calling for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down.
"(To keep the situation from getting worse) I have to stop playing a role in all political movements, the members and PDRC core leaders are understanding about this matter," Sehgal said.
The businessman has also turned to National Human Rights Commission for help to fight the expulsion order.
The Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) decided on Monday to deport Sehgal for joining the PDRC, alleging he led protesters to besiege several government offices.
But Sehgal said he was innocent. "I don't understand why the CMPO would have to expel me from the country. I'm innocent and think that I will get fair treatment in the society."
On the the proposed deportation of Sehgal, acting Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said the case rested with an Interior Ministry committee which would consider whether there were sufficient grounds for it.
"If it meets the criteria, I will have to sign [the deportation order]. But if it does not meet [the criteria], I won't."
Chalerm said he was also waiting for a letter from National Human Rights Commissioner Niran Pitakwatchara, inviting him to testify on why the CMPO needs to expel Sehgal from Thailand.
Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith said the DSI would announce tomorrow the names of 58 suspects believed to have financed the anti-government PDRC protest.
Meanwhile, a group of residents and businessmen from the Silom business district, today held a brief rally in front of the Indian Embassy here to give moral support to Seghal.
The group said it planned to submit a letter to Indian Ambassador to Thailand Harsh Vardhan Shringla, asking the mission to protect the rights and liberty of Seghal.