Roseau: Fugitive diamantaire and PNB fraudster, Mehul Choksi, who is fighting a legal battle in Dominica after being charged with illegal entry by the police, has reportedly been declared a “prohibited immigrant” by the country. This new development in Mehul Choksi’s case is likely to boost India’s effort to extradite him back to the country to face trial in the PNB scam case.
According to an order issued by the Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs on May 25, that read “in accordance to section 5(1)(f) of the Immigration and Passport Act Chapter 18:01 of the 2017 Revised laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica, you, Mr Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, are hereby declared a prohibited immigrant.” The ministry also sent a separate notice to Choksi on the same day, informing the businessman that he is “not permitted to enter Dominica”. The notice further said that the police have been instructed “to take all the necessary actions to have you repatriated”.
By powers vested in me in accordance with Immigration & Passport Act of 2017 revised laws of Dominica, Mehul Choksi is declared a prohibited immigrant. Necessary action be taken to have him removed from here: Dominica’s National Security & Home Affairs Min,in order dated 25th May
— ANI (@ANI) June 10, 2021
This, however, counters the claim of his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal who said last week that Choksi did not enter Dominica illegally and the police there cannot arrest him as he is not a “prohibited immigrant”.
For the unversed, Choksi had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen. His lawyers claimed that Choksi was kidnapped.
He was detained in neighbouring Dominica for illegal entry after a possible romantic escapade with his rumoured girlfriend, who he later named as one of his abductors.
Choksi’s lawyer alleged that he was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian and brought to Dominica on a boat.
“We said that he was kidnapped and didn’t go to Dominica of his own free will. Here under section 6 of Dominica’s Passport and Immigration Act, he is not a prohibited immigrant, therefore he has not committed any crime and Dominica police cannot arrest him,” Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal claimed last week.
The businessman was also brought before a Roseau magistrate on the orders of high court judge Bernie Stephenson, hearing the habeas corpus matter, to answer charges of illegal entry where he pleaded not guilty but was denied bail.
It is to be mentioned that Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused in the ₹13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. He is involved in a legal battle to prevent his extradition to India.
India has presented evidence of Choksi’s financial fraud to Dominica and urged the country to clear his deportaion, saying it is extremely important.