Saturday 19 June 2021
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Dominica declares Choksi ‘prohibited immigrant’

Choksi's lawyers alleged he was abducted in Antigua by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian, and brought to Dominica on a boat

Fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi has been declared a prohibited immigrant in Dominica. The Dominican government on 10 June declared diamantaire Mehul Choksi as a “prohibited immigrant” in their country, a development that is likely to strengthen the case of India.

The press is in possession of an order issued by the Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs, according to which, “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, Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, are hereby declared a prohibited immigrant.”

“You are, therefore, not permitted to enter the Commonwealth of Dominica and the Chief of Police has been instructed to take all the necessary actions to have you repatriated,” added the order, dated 25 May 2021, signed by Dominican minister Rayburn Blackmoore.

Sources said that the document was part of a submission made by the Dominican authorities before the court based on which the public prosecutor requested the High Court to reject Mehul Choksi’s plea and deport him to India.

Mehul Choksi, wanted in a Rs 13,500-crore bank fraud case in India, had mysteriously gone missing on 23 May from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been staying as a citizen since 2018. He was detained in the neighbouring island country of Dominica for illegal entry.

Choksi’s lawyers alleged that he was abducted from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian, and brought to Dominica on a boat.

Sources said that the latest development is a setback for Mehul Choksi as it counters the abduction theory, according to which, he was forcibly taken to Dominica on 23 May whereas authorities claim he was arrested on 25 May after he entered the country.

“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.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused in the Rs 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.

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