Indian businessman critical after shooting in Trinidad

By Paras Ramoutar

Port-of-Spain (Trinidad)(IANS) : Kapil Khanna, a 21-year-old businessman from New Delhi, is stated to be in critical condition following a shootout at his hotel room in St.Helena Thursday evening.

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According to a Piarco Police Station officer, Khanna, who operated a business booth at the Indian Trade Fair at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya, was shot in his right leg when he resisted three men who held him and snatched thousands of dollars, a cell phone and jewellery.

Khanna was about to enter his guesthouse room when three men came up. One pointed a gun at him, and snatched the belongings and even fired two shots injuring his right thigh. Then the men ran away with the loot in a car parked nearby.

According to police, the organiser of the fair, Baba Singh, refused to report the matter to them, fearing unfavourable publicity.

Singh is quoted in the local media as saying: “He does not want this highlighted as no other Indian merchant will want to come back if they believe Indian businessmen are being targeted by the criminals here.”

Last Sunday, another Indian-born businessman, Gowtan Lall, who also hails from New Delhi, was also attacked by some local miscreants while he was returning home after doing business at the annual Diwali Nagar, an annual cultural and religious showcase, in Chaguanas, Central Trinidad.

Police believe that Lall was followed by the robbers to his house at Jerningham Junction, Cunupia, where he lives with his Trinidadian-born wife, baby and father-in-law, some five kilometers from the Nagar. The thieves looted valuables worth $70,000, cell phone and the family’s pet pompek.

It has now become an annual ritual for hundreds of Indian businessmen to ply between India and Trinidad and Tobago, especially around Indian Arrival Day celebrations and Diwali.

Their presence here has engineered a new trade and business and social contacts between both the countries. Trinidadians of all ethnic stocks, religions and social standing flock the booths to shop for Indian jewellery, clothes, furniture and kitchenware.

Police say that the attackers fitted the same description in both robberies.