After getting arrested by the Dominican authorities, Indian fugitive Mehul Choski was presented in the court where the Judge has stayed his repatriation to any country. He was presented before Madam Justice M E Birnie Stephenson.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court stated that the final decision on extraditing Choksi would be taken at 9 am Friday (28 May 2021).
The fugitive Indian diamantaire Mehul Chinubhai Choksi who went missing from Antigua on Sunday, was arrested by the police of the Commonwealth of Dominica. He is wanted for 2billion US dollar loan fraud against Punjab National Bank.
Choksi’s lawyer in Dominica had filed a court plea under Habeas corpus and demanded a fair ruling for him in the country.
Dominican Supreme Court’s ruling
That the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police, whether by themselves, their servants, agents and/or representatives, be restrained from depriving the Applicant access to Legal Counsel and /Legal Representation.
That the applicant be allowed to meet with his Legal Counsel forthwith
That the defendants be restrained, whether by themselves, servants, agents and/or representatives, from removing the applicant from The Commonwealth of Dominica until further or other hearing of this application.
Madam Justice M E Birnie Stephenson said, “This matter will be heard urgently at 9:00 am in the forenoon on Friday the 28th day of May 2021.”
Antigua government don’t want him back
PM of Antigua Gaston Browne said that Mehul Choksi should be repatriated to India. Mehul is “Liability” for their country. PM Browne had requested to PM Skeritt and the law enforcement department of Dominica to extradite him back to India.
PM Browne said, “He was found in Dominica. He may have entered the island illegally, possibly by boats. The Dominican government is cooperating with the Antiguan and Indian governments. We have requested Dominican law enforcement agencies to not return him to Antigua, where he has legal and constitutional rights as a citizen. We specifically requested them to have Indian law enforcement agencies make necessary arrangements to have him returned directly to India.”
The criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Dominica has taken the custody of Mehul Choksi. He was living in Antigua, but for the last three days, he had been missing. After which, a massive search operation was launched to found him. He was traced and captured in neighbouring Dominica.
PM Browne said, ” I am not aware that he is a citizen of Dominica and that he’d have enjoyed any constitutional protection, so on that basis, it will be easy for Dominica to deport him.”
He had noted that Antigua and Barbuda would not accept him back because Choksi made an error by escaping the island.
When Vijay Aggarwal, the counsel of Mehul, was asked about this, he said that according to the Indian Citizenship Act Section 9, the moment Mehul acquired the citizenship of Antigua, he surrendered his Indian citizenship. Hence as per the immigration and passport Act section 17 & 23, he can only be deported to Antigua.