While India was hopeful of catching hold of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi after his arrest in Dominica, the wait once again got elongated after a local court in the island nation stayed his repatriation. Choksi is wanted by Indian agencies in the Rs 14,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam.
Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said the Dominica court on Friday ordered a restraint on removing Mehul Choksi from the land of Dominica until further orders and has also permitted legal assistance and access to his legal team. The court will hold the next hearing in the matter at 6 pm on May 28.
The fugitive diamantaire’s legal team has filed a habeas corpus in the Dominican court after it was not given access to Choksi.
Mehul Choksi’s arrest
Choksi, 62, who is sought by Indian agencies in connection with the Rs 14,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, had recently gone missing from Antigua—a Caribbean island nation to which he fled in 2018 after the scam came to the fore.
On Tuesday night, he was found in the neighbouring Dominica, where he was arrested. He was captured after an Interpol yellow notice was issued against him. A yellow notice is issued by Interpol to track missing persons.
Antigua wants Choksi’s deportation to India
Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi should be sent back directly to India. Reportedly, Browne told local media that he has given “clear instructions” to the Dominican authorities to repatriate Choksi to India. “We asked them not to repatriate him to Antigua. He needs to return to India where he can face the criminal charges levelled against him,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by local media.
According to Antigua’s prime minister, Choksi will not have the same rights in Dominica as he has in Antigua and Barbuda, where he had been staying since 2018 after taking citizenship in 2017 under the Citizenship by Investment programme. Due to this, Browne believes, it would be easy for Dominica to repatriate him directly to India.
Mehul Choksi fled India
After the over Rs 1,400 crore Punjab National Bank fraud came into the limelight, Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi, and uncle Mehul Choksi fled from India. Later, red corner notices were issued by Interpol against all the three fugitives. Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi are already fighting extradition to India. The Enforcement Directorate that is probing the scam has already seized several assets of these fugitive businessmen.
To read the latest news in Gujarati click here