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Thai authorities have revoked the permanent residency status of long-time Bangkok-based Indian businessman Satish Sehgal, paving the way for his deportation for allegedly defying an emergency decree and leading anti-government protests.
The decision was made at a second round of meetings of the interior ministry's immigration committee on Friday, newspapers quoted sources as saying on Saturday.
A secret ballot was held on the issue of revoking Seghal's permanent residency status and five members of the committee voted for it while two others opposed it and two more abstained, the media reports said.
The committee had earlier decided on February 11 that there was not enough evidence to deport 70-year-old Sehgal, who has lived in Thailand for 65 years but still holds an Indian passport.
The committee's decision has been submitted to Chalerm Yubamrung, director of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) that is overseeing the government's response to the protests.
If the deportation is approved by CMPO, Sehgal can approach the court to oppose the move.
However, Seghal said he had not received anything in writing yet or been informed of any allegation of wrongdoing.
"I am innocent, I did not do anything wrong. I have not been investigated by police or any officials," said Sehgal, who has a publishing business.
He said he only knew what the media had reported, adding the matter was now being handled by his lawyers.
The move for Seghal's deportation came after he took part in anti-government protests after the emergency was imposed last month in Bangkok and surrounding areas.
Sehgal has been accused of harming national security by leading protesters to besiege government offices, including the Department of Civil Aviation.
The businessman earlier served as an advisor to several ministers, including those in the administration run by former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.