In a major setback to fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, the Dominican government has declared him as a prohibited immigrant.
"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 Minister said in order dated May 25.
Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on May 23 and was caught in Dominica. He was charged with illegal entry by the police in Dominica after he allegedly escaped from Antigua and Barbuda in a possible attempt to evade extradition to India.
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.
"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 62-year-old fugitive is wanted in India in connection with a Rs 13,500-crore fraud in the Punjab National Bank.
(With inputs from Agencies)