On May 4 (Friday), a multi-agency team that had been in Dominica to bring back fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi returned to India. The team, led by CBI DIG Sharda Raut, boarded a Qatar Airways private plane from Dominica’s Melville Hall Airport after a Dominica judge deferred hearings relating to Choksi’s extradition.
The Bombardier Global plane, carrying an eight-person crew to ensure Choksi’s repatriation to India had arrived in Dominica at 1:15 pm local time on May 28. The experts stayed in Dominica for nearly seven days to see if the court would allow Choksi to return.
According to local media, the hearing on a habeas corpus plea filed by Mehul Choksi’s lawyers was adjourned. The next hearing is anticipated to take place in a month, allowing Choksi to continue staying in Dominica until then.
Judge Bernie Stephenson will decide the next date of hearing after meeting both sides.
Indian govt has sent a jet to Dominica to prove that Mehul Choksi is a fugitive before the court
Last week, on May 30, the Prime Minister of Antigua Gaston Browne had conceded that the Indian government has sent a jet to Dominica to prove that Mehul Choksi is a fugitive before the court.
“Yes, I can confirm that there is a jet. My understanding is that the Indian government has sent certain documentation from the courts in India to confirm that Mr Choksi is a fugitive. My understanding is that it will be used before the court next Wednesday. As you know, the judge in Dominica has actually put a stay on his deportation until the hearing next Wednesday. So, the Indian government is going all out to ensure that he is repatriated to India and can stand trial there,” Gaston Browne emphasised.
In an interesting turn of events, the fugitive diamantaire had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen since he fled Delhi. He was eventually discovered in Roseau, Dominica, at the Canefield beach. He was apprehended while attempting to dispose of some important documents in the sea. Choksi was held by law authorities for “illegal entry” into Dominica, according to a news release from the Dominica Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs.
Despite the fact that Mehul Choksi is an Indian citizen, Dominica has stated that he will be repatriated to Antigua rather than India. Following this development, the Indian government dispatched a delegate to Dominica, armed with the necessary papers, to pursue the fugitive’s deportation to India.
Involvement of Choksi in the PNB scam
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank in the amount of Rs 13,600 crore. The fraud was discovered in 2018, and he and his nephew have been on the run ever since. Choksi was in Antigua when Modi was in the United Kingdom. Recently, a UK court had ruled that his nephew Nirav Modi will be extradited to India from UK to face charges of conspiring to defraud PNB.
Choksi is accused with criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, deception, and dishonesty, as well as property delivery, corruption, and money laundering.