Sunday, July 01, 2007


Edison detainee deported to India

Home News Tribune Online 04/14/07

EDISON — Rajnikant Parikh, the Edison resident who was at the center of charges and counter-charges of racism, brutality and civil-rights violations growing out of an impromptu fireworks display July 4, was deported to India Thursday evening.

Adam Puharic, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman in Newark, said Friday that Parikh had been deported to his native country. The order of deportation carried out on Thursday was initially issued in June 1996 after Parikh was apprehended, using the name Amit Sheth, by the U.S. Border Patrol in Texas in 1995. That 11-year-old order by an immigration judge was reinstated for the Edison man in the name of Rajnikant Parikh, according to a press release issued by ICE Friday. According to the ICE statement, Parikh re-entered the country in 1999 under a work visa and "used two different identities over a 12-year period in order to circumvent immigration law."

Parikh, who was in the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center for eight months, was arrested by ICE detention and removal officers on Aug. 2 at a rally at the Edison Municipal Complex. The rally was held to show support for Parikh's claim that he was brutalized by police during his arrest at a July 4 celebration at Hilltop Apartments off Oak Tree Road in Edison. Edison patrolman Michael Dotro was the arresting officer.

Parikh's wife, Julie Patel, who is studying medicine in Poland, said she is waiting for Parikh's phone call. Patel, who was planning to come to the United States in May, said, "I don't know what to do now," during a telephone interview Friday. "The township and police conspired in getting him arrested," she said.

Parikh's attorney, Ravinder Bhalla, said he is considering filing a civil lawsuit against Edison Township, Michael Dotro and his brother, Sam, who is an attorney employed by ICE, and others. Bhalla said a notice of claim, which must be sent to a municipality months before an individual files a lawsuit against the town, was filed on Aug. 13.

Paul Brickfield, an attorney representing Parikh in the criminal case, was disappointed Friday with his client's deportation. "It's very unfortunate that it denies to Parikh the opportunity to clear his name in open court, and it also denies the residents of Edison an opportunity to hear in open court what actually happened on July 4." Brickfield said he expects the township prosecutor to now move to dismiss that case.

The case is being heard in South Amboy Municipal Court before Judge Joseph Hoffman. A hearing is slated for Wednesday before Hoffman to determine if the Edison Policeman's Benevolent Association can intervene in Parikh's case.


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