Indian team to bring back Choksi returns after Dominican court adjourns hearing
(Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
A TEAM from India which visited Dominica with a view to bring back fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi is headed home after the High Court in that country adjourned the jeweller’s habeas corpus petition.
It is likely the next hearing may take place after a month and Choksi will remain in the Caribbean nation till further orders, local media reported.
A team led by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Sharda Raut was stationed in Dominica for nearly seven days in order to bring back Choksi.
Separately, a Dominican magistrate’s court also refused Choksi bail after he was charged with illegally entering that country.
His lawyers argued that other non-nationals had received bail in similar cases, but the Dominican government tagged Choksi as a flight risk and took note of an Interpol notices against him.
Choksi was arrested in Dominica on May 23 for illegal entry into the country and was denied bail by a magistrate court during a hearing on Wednesday (2).
The businessman, who is wanted in a £1.32 billion loan fraud case related to the Punjab National Bank (PNB) in India, claimed that he was kidnapped and forcefully brought to the Caribbean nation.
Choksi went mysteriously missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda, where he had been staying as a citizen since 2018. 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.
Meanwhile, the government of Dominica has asked the court there to discard Choksi’s habeas corpus petition.
Last week, the Domincan government had issued a statement that it was verifying the status of Choksi’s citizenship with Antigua and Barbuda.
“Once the information is provided by the Antigua authorities, possible arrangements will be made for Mr. Mehul Choksi to be repatriated to Antigua,” the statement had said.
India said it will continue to fight to bring Choksi back.
“India remains steadfast in efforts that fugitives are brought back… He is currently in custody of Dominica with legal proceedings underway…,” foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday (3).
Choksi is one of the main defendants in the loan fraud case related to the PNB, while his nephew Nirav Modi is currently lodged in a London jail. Modi is contesting his extradition to India after repeated denial of his bail by courts.