NEW DELHI: Fugitive Indian diamantaire and PNB loan fraud scam accused Mehul Choksi has been declared a prohibited immigrant in Dominica. According to media reports, the Dominican government had on Thursday declared Choksi as a “prohibited immigrant” in their country.

This new twist in Mehul Choksi’s case is likely to boost India’s effort to deport him back to the country to face trial in the PNB scam case.

An order issued by the Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs that said, “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 order, dated May 25, 2021, signed by Dominican Minister Rayburn Blackmoore said, “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.”

Meanwhile, the Dominica High Court has adjourned the bail hearing of fugitive diamond merchant Mehul Choksi till June 11, local media reports stated. Choksi had approached the high court after the magistrate rejected his bail petition.

The bail hearing took place before high court judge Wynante Adrien-Roberts through video-conferencing on the plea of Choksi’s local legal team comprising Julien Prevost, Wayne Norde, Wayne Marsh and Cara Shillingford-Marsh.

The government side represented by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Sherma Dalrymple “strongly objected” to Choksi’s plea calling him a flight risk, Dominica News Online reported. The judge adjourned the matter till June 11, it said. The high court is also hearing a separate matter of habeas corpus filed by Choksi’s team in which the hearing has also been adjourned.

Mehul Choksi had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen. He was detained in neighbouring island country Dominica for illegal entry after a possible romantic escapade with his rumoured girlfriend.

His lawyers alleged that he was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian and brought to Dominica on a boat.

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.

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