Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi won’t be deported yet as a Dominica court on Friday stayed on his repatriation. The court passed the order after Mehul Choksi’s legal team filed a habeas corpus petition and pointed out that he was denied legal rights.
ADominica court has put a stay on the repatriation of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi who was arrested in the island nation after he fled from Antigua and Barbuda where he had been since 2018.
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, his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said.
The court will hold the next hearing in the matter at 6 pm on May 28.
The court passed the order after Mehul Choksi’s legal team in Dominica filed a habeas corpus petition in a court of the Carribean island country after they were allegedly not given initial access to him.
Lawyers allege Mehul Choksi forcefully picked up, tortured
Mehul Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal on Thursday raised doubts about the way Choksi had gone missing from Antigua and Barbuda only to be detained in Dominica, about 100 nautical miles away, for illegal entry.
His lawyer in Dominica, Wayne Marsh, had told a radio show that in a brief interaction with Mehul Choksi, allowed by authorities after lot of efforts, the diamantaire claimed that he was picked up at Jolly Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda by men looking like Indian and Antiguan policemen and was put in a vessel.
Vijay Aggarwal also called the entire episode of his mysterious disappearance and detention in Dominica “fishy”.
“There is something fishy and I guess it was a strategy to take him to another country so that there are chances of sending him back to India. So I don’t know what forces are operating. Only the time will tell,” his lawyer said.
Meanwhile, sources in India said the government is making efforts to bring him back as soon as possible.
Who is Mehul Choksi?
Mehul Choksi is wanted in a Rs 13,500-crore loan fraud in the Punjab National Bank (PNB). Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi allegedly siphoned off public money from the state-run PNB using fraudulent letters of undertaking.
Mehul Choksi had taken citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 and fled India in the first week of January 2018. The PNB scam came to light subsequently. Both, Nirav Modi and Choksi, are facing a CBI probe.
The fugitive businessman, who was residing in Antigua and Barbuda since 2018 after his escape from India, had gone missing on Sunday under mysterious circumstances. He was later “detained” in Dominica for illegal entry.
Mehul Choksi was last seen going for dinner in his car in Antigua and Barbuda on Sunday. His staff had reported him missing after his car was found. The businessman’s lawyer had confirmed that Choksi had been missing since Sunday.
The reports of Choksi gone missing created a flutter in the Caribbean island country after the opposition raised the issue in the Antigua and Barbuda Parliament.