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India's tax authorities issue lookout circular for Huawei CEO

In a significant development, a lookout circular (LOC) has been issued against Li Xiongwei, CEO of Huawei Telecommunications (India), by the Indian Income Tax Department.

An LOC is issued to stop individuals wanted by law enforcement from leaving the country, alerting border officials to be on their guard.

Li has now approached the Delhi High Court to challenge the LOC, which he claims has caused a "huge blow" to his reputation "as well as to the reputation of Huawei India," according to media reports.

Li has approached the Delhi High Court to challenge the LOC, which he claims has caused a 'huge blow' to his reputation, and Huawei India's.
Li has approached the Delhi High Court to challenge the LOC, which he claims has caused a "huge blow" to his reputation, and Huawei India's.

The high court has directed the income tax department to provide a reason for not quashing the LOC within a month. The department has to respond to Li's petition in the same time period.

Denied boarding

On May 1, Li was prevented from boarding a flight at New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport. He was on his way to Bangkok in Thailand for an official business meeting. According to the petition, his boarding pass was cancelled, and authorities refused to provide any reason for the LOC.

The income tax department had conducted raids in Huawei offices on February 18, 2022, and the LOC for Li was issued in connection with this.

The incident is the latest development in a series of issues plaguing the Chinese vendor in India.

Unlike Chinese apps, like TikTok and Helo, Huawei was not banned after clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley in 2020. However, the Indian government has made it difficult for Huawei to operate here.


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Huawei has not been able to acquire the tag of a trusted vendor, making it almost impossible for the company to get any new business or benefit from the launch of 5G. The company was also barred from participating in 5G trials.

While arguing, Li's counsel, advocate Vijay Aggarwal, said the issuance of the LOC breached the principles of natural justice. In income tax assessments, undue haste breaks the principle of fairness.

Therefore, before delivering any order, the authorities must respond to the objections raised by Li. The authorities now have until June 25 to respond to Li's petition.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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