Indian Origin NRI arrested and charged with sexually assaulting woman on plane in Michigan

A 34-year-old man of Indian-origin Prabhu Ramamoorthy was arrested by federal authorities in Michigan after a woman co-passenger complained of being sexually assaulted by him after falling asleep on the flight.

Prabhu allegedly groped the 22-year-old seated next to him on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas which landed in Detroit early on January 3, the Washington Post reported.

prabhu
Image from Facebook

The man, Prabhu Ramamoorthy, who prosecutors said is an Indian national living in the United States on a temporary visa, was charged with aggravated sexual abuse and held without bail after an appearance in federal court in Michigan on Thursday.

The victim told investigators that she woke up to find her pants and shirt unbuttoned and the man’s hand inside her pants.

Federal prosecutor Amanda Jawad said that Ramamoorthy sat between his wife and the victim. He stopped after the victim woke up, and the woman went to the back of the plane to report the incident to a flight attendant, the criminal complaint said.

Two flight attendants told federal investigators that the victim was crying and that her shirt was untied and that her pants were unbuttoned when she reported the incident at about 5:30 a.m., 40 minutes before the plane’s landing, Jawad said. The attendants kept the woman in the back of the plane and offered her a different seat, and while they were talking to the victim, Ramamoorthy’s wife came to the back to see what was going on, Jawad said.

Ramamoorthy was arrested after the plane landed, according to court documents. He told agents in a written statement that he had taken a pill and fallen into a deep sleep, Jawad said, and that he hadn’t done anything besides learning from his wife that the 22-year-old woman was sleeping on his knees.

Magistrate Judge Steven Whalen, who said it was a “very unusual case,” ordered Ramamoorthy to be held pending trial after Jawad successfully argued that he was a flight risk and a potential danger to others around him. The prosecutor said that Ramamoorthy’s wife, who was also living in the United States on a temporary visa, would not make a suitable custodian for him.

Prosecutors said Ramamoorthy, who hails from Tamil Nadu was living in the United States on a temporary visa. He was charged with aggravated sexual abuse and held without bail after an appearance in federal court in Michigan on Thursday.


 

In another unrelated news, Times of India reported that an Indian doctor has been sentenced to 10 months behind bars in the US for groping two teenage female patients and faces deportation to India after the completion of his jail term.

Arun Aggarwal, 40, was sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty to four counts of gross sexual imposition.

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NRIs, foreigners and Senior Citizens without Aadhaar can re-verify their mobile services says DoT

There is a lot of debate among the non-resident Indian community about Aadhaar Verification required for some of the essential services like bank accounts, financial transactions and even telephone service and SIM. The challenge is that many of the NRIs who left India years ago may not have an Aadhaar Card.  They may not be eligible to apply for an Indian Unique ID during short visits back home.

Recognizing this challenge, the Indian Government’s Department of Telecom (DoT) has clarified a procedure for re-verification of mobile connections of foreign nationals, as well as NRI subscribers who either do not have Aadhaar or their mobile number is not registered with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

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Image courtesy: Shutterstock

NRIs with elderly parents back home will be happy to note that the DoT has also extended the re-verification procedure for senior citizens above 70 years who do not have an  Aadhaar and are unable to complete a biometric authentication

The DoT also added that various representations had been received from Non Resident India (NRIs) Overseas Indians and foreign nationals citing difficulties being faced by them in re-verification of their Indian mobile connections.

Details of the DoT announcement can be found on its website (link). You may also call the customer service of your phone’s service provider.


Previous articles on the topic:

Trends in Indian Jewellery : It is not just gold but a lot more

Almost every established culture has used gold to symbolize power, beauty and purity. In India, gold jewellery has been used to celebrate marriage and during religious festivals. In the North Ornate bridal pieces are popular while in the South 22-karat yellow gold are favored. Indians happen to be the largest consumers of Gold in the world. Not surprisingly, the Indian diaspora and NRIs continue to be enamored by the yellow metal. GaramChai.com has extensive listings of Indian Jewelers across the North America.

A recent New York Times article (link) explores emerging trends in ethnic and contemporary jewellery designs in India that global Desis are sure to be paying attention to.  Traditionally, Indians would buy jewellery as an asset for a rainy day and for special occasion like marriage and festivals. Such purchases would involve a lot of research and consensus from the extended family.  The article highlights an emerging trend where Indian women are buying contemporary jewellery,  purely for joy and satisfaction rather than waiting for an occasion.

Another trend featured in the article is that jewellery made using silver and other material are designed for “daily use” and  doesn’t need to sit in lockers.

The article features Eina Ahluwalia (facebook), a jeweler and designer based in Kolkata, whose creations blend social activism, art, design and fashion- partly trying to counter what she calls ‘the patriarchal associations of traditional Indian jewellery.

 “ her 2011 Wedding Vows collection took a stand against domestic violence by using renderings of kirpans, the knives that are an important symbol of her Sikh identity, in necklaces and other pieces. The words “Love, Respect, Protect” were worked in gold into chandelier earrings and layered necklaces.”

That collection, she said, continues to be among her most successful, with its slogan “Accessorize the Warrior Within” resonating among customers. Her designs were inspired by traditional and personal narratives, like her Wordsmith collection that displayed the names for God in Urdu, Arabic and Hindi. These Jewellery prices start at about Rs 5,000 for a pair of shell-shaped earrings and rise to about Rs 25,000 for elaborate pieces. “

 

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Googled picture of Eina Ahluwalia

At first there was a cap to how much customers would spend in terms of price per piece,” she said. But, “over the years, the Indian market is exposed to so much more, and the customer base has significantly widened.” Today, unorthodox materials like concrete, wood, leather and found objects are used by many of the 60 designers whose work is showcased alongside Ahluwalia’s at Nimai, a concept jewellery store opened in Delhi by Pooja Roy Yadav in 2013.”

“Social media has been an invaluable tool to share these stories,” she said, “which would be near impossible in traditional retail formats, and very expensive and impersonal through conventional advertising and marketing.” Now designers, including Ahluwalia and Pittie, are creating collections suitable for bridal wear.

Featured links

 

Indian Student shot dead in California, Sushma Swaraj seeks report.

Image of the victim, Dharampreet Singh Jassar, posted on Facebook
Photo Credit: Facebook

 An Indian student, Dharampreet Singh Jassar was shot dead by four armed robbers at a grocery store in the US state of California.

Jassar was shot by one of the four robbers while they were leaving the service station after looting cash and goods.  At this point officials suspect robbery was the motive and ruled out hate crime.

One of the four robbers who has been arrested was a person of Indian Origin, Armitraj Singh Athwal.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has confirmed that Indian Government was following up and tweeted:

Links to articles about the incident:

 

 

 

 

PPF accounts to be closed, interest lowered to 4 per cent if you become an NRI

Non Resident Indians are continually looking for investment opportunities in India. A few weeks ago, we blogged about “NRIs for real estate investment in India – Know the simple Rules” The Government of Indian recently announced new rules under which select small savings schemes like Public Provident Fund (PPF) and National Saving Certificates (NSC) will not earn you the same rate if you become non-resident Indians (NRI).

A summary of changes to rules and what it means to NRIs:

  • NRIs will no longer be permitted invest in small savings schemes like NSC and PPF. In the past they were allowed to retain their PPF account if they had opened it before becoming an NRI.
  • PPF and NSC currently fetch an interest rate higher than bank savings rates. Some of it is subsidized by the Government of India. (Current rate of PPF is 7.8 per cent while Post Office savings account get 4 %)
  • PPF accounts would be deemed to be closed prior to maturity in case the holder becomes a non-resident Indian (NRI). The investor will be then paid interest at the rate applicable to Post Office savings accounts till the date the PPF account is closed.

The Indian government notification on PPF dated October 3 states,

“Provided that if a resident who opened an account under this scheme, subsequently becomes a non-resident during the currency of the maturity period, the account shall be deemed to be closed with effect from the day he becomes a non-resident and interest with effect from that date shall be paid at the rate applicable to the Post Office Saving Account up to the last day of the month preceding the month in which the account is actually closed.”

The finance ministry notification adds:

“Provided that if a resident Indian having purchased a certificate, subsequently becomes Non-Resident during the currency of the maturity period, the certificate shall be encashed or deemed to be encashed on the day he becomes a non-Resident, and interest shall be paid at the rate applicable to the Post Office Savings Account, from time to time, from such day and up to the last day of the month preceding the month in which it is actually encashed.”

Other media accounts

Donald Trump celebrates Diwali at White House

Diwali news from around the world

 

A few days ago we ran a feature highlighting “Grand, Green Diwali around the world this year”

This year, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America hosted a few porminent Indian-Americans to greet the global community

Today, I was deeply honored to be joined by so many administration officials and leaders of the Indian-American community – to celebrate Diwali — the Hindu Festival of Lights.

As we do so, we especially remember the People of India, the home of the Hindu faith, who have built the world’s largest democracy. I greatly value my very strong relationship with Prime Minister Modi. Diwali is one of the most important celebrations in the Hindu religion. A time of peace and prosperity for the New Year, it is a tradition that is held dear by more than 1 billion Hindus worldwide and more than 2 million Hindus in the United States. It is also celebrated by millions of Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains in America, India and around the world.

Our Indian-American neighbors and friends have made incredible contributions to our country – and to the world. You have made extraordinary contributions to art, science, medicine, business and education. America is especially thankful for its many Indian-American citizens who serve BRAVELY in our armed forces and as first responders in communities throughout our great land.

The Lighting of the Diya is typically celebrated by families in their homes. Today, we proudly celebrate this holiday in THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE. In so doing, we reaffirm that Indian-Americans and Hindu-Americans are truly cherished, treasured and beloved members of our great American FAMILY.

We wish all of America’s Hindus and everyone who celebrates Diwali a joyous holiday and blessings of light, goodness, and prosperity throughout the New Year. And now we will light the Diya.

However, despite Indian Supreme Court’s directive banning fireworks in the National capital, media is reporting that Delhi covered in toxic haze after night of Diwali fireworks – The Guardian 

Delhi’s Air Quality Status Report After Diwali is ‘Very Poor’: NDTV 

Move over Medical Tourism, #BegTourismIndia is the next wave !

A couple of days ago, news of a Russian tourist found begging outside the famous South Indian shrine of Kancheepuram went viral.

The backpacker from Russia, Evangelin apparently arrived in India recently. On September 24 he travelled from Chennai to Kancheepuram. After visiting a few temples in the town, he went to an ATM kiosk but was unable to draw money as his debit card’s PIN had got locked. After he was unable to withdraw money from the ATM, he got desperate. On seeing some beggars sitting outside the Sri Kumarakottam Temple, he joined them and started seeking alms using his cap.

Videos and pictures of Evangelin ‘begging’ went viral and media and digirati went wild over the story. The local police in Kanchipuram stepped in, and after verifying his documents, offered him some money to enable him to go to the Russian consulate in Chennai for assistance. This saga also prompted Indian External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to tweet

The story does not end here. This week, the Russian tourist was seen begging in the busy T Nagar area in Chennai since Saturday. He was reportedly charging excited Diwali shoppers Rupees 100 (about $2) for selfies with him. Evangelin reportedly told the media that he had tasted ‘good money’ through begging and could use this to finance his travels in India.

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image: The Hindu

 

Russian consulate in Chennai had earlier reported that Evangelin had not contacted them and that they will assist him in when he contacts them. The Mambalam police in Chennai detained him after he continued begging in the city.  On being questioned, he told the police that he sought alms as per Lord Shiva’s wish and was quoted saying “I am a devotee of the Lord Shiva. I wish to travel across the country.”

Officials seem to be helplessly watching this saga unfold. The police was quoted saying “He holds valid travel documents and visa papers, and cannot be deported immediately.”

Indian entrepreneurs are exploring a variety of tourist ventures including Medical Tourism. The Evangelin saga  has interesting implications for #BegTourismIndia :

  • Enterprising startups may spring up offering #BegTourismIndia for backpackers
  • Tech savvy tourist-beggars may take to social media by creating facebook and whatsup group, sharing tips on begging, and about tourist hotspots
  • Some may offer Caucasian backpakers ‘coaching classes’ in the subtle art of begging at temple steps