NEW DELHI (AFP) – A British lawyer assisting Bangladesh’s opposition leader in her fight against corruption charges has been refused entry to India where he was scheduled to give a press conference about the case.
India’s foreign ministry said Lord Alexander Carlile, a former MP and international lawyer, was denied entry at New Delhi on Wednesday evening for visa irregularities.
The peer returned on a flight to London after being deported from Delhi’s international airport.
“Carlile, a British national, arrived in New Delhi… without having obtained appropriate Indian visa,” foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.
“His intended activity in India was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application. It was therefore decided to deny him entry into India upon arrival.”
Carlile was scheduled to give a press conference in New Delhi related to the charges against Khaleda Zia, who was imprisoned in February after being accused of embezzlement.
Zia, who was granted bail while she appeals against the five-year jail term, has denied the charges and described them as politically motivated.
Bangladesh had objected to Carlile’s visit to India and had made its reservations clear to New Delhi, the BBC reported in its Bengali language service.
Carlile has said there is no evidence against Zia and her prosecution for corruption was designed to keep her from campaigning in general elections this December.
Zia’s party boycotted the 2014 polls in which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina — a former ally turned arch-foe — was elected.
She had planned to challenge Hasina in the upcoming vote.
Zia, who entered politics in the mid-1980s after her military dictator husband was assassinated in an abortive coup, also faces dozens of separate charges related to violence and corruption.