Dominican court adjourns hearing in Mehul Choksi's case; Antigua prefers repatriation to India directly | Updates
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Dominica High Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing on a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of India fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi. Judge Bernie Stephenson will decide the next date of hearing after meeting both sides. The adjournment is to allow lawyers for Choksi and the Dominica Government "to agree on the language to be used with respect to the injunction filed to prevent his removal from Dominica".
The hearing took place through video-conferencing with a group of protesters standing outside the High Court Building in Roseau carrying placards with messages seeking to know the truth about the controversy. "Who brought Choksi to Dominica?" read one of the placards, the photo of which was published by many media outlets.
The High Court is hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by Choksi's lawyers. A habeas corpus petition is filed for producing before a court a person who is under arrest or in unlawful detention. The judge had on Wednesday ordered production of Choksi before a magistrate to face charges of illegal entry into Dominica.
Antigua and Barbuda prefers repatriation of Choksi from Dominica to India directly:
Antigua and Barbuda prefer that fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi be repatriated from Dominica to India directly, the Cabinet of the Caribbean island country decided in a meeting. The Cabinet minutes published by local media show that "Choksi matter" was one of the agenda items discussed during the meeting on Wednesday where it was held that the business is now "problem" of Dominica and if he comes back to Antigua and Barbuda "problem reverts" to it. The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Gaston Browne and attended by all his ministers decided that law enforcement officials will continue to gather intelligence in the circumstances of Choksi's "departure" from Antigua.
India committed to bringing back Choksi:
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said India remains steadfast in its resolve that fugitives of the country are brought back to face justice and all efforts would continue to bring back Mehul Choksi who is wanted in a major banking fraud here. Referring to the case of Choksi, he said the diamantaire is currently in the custody of Dominican authorities and certain legal proceedings are underway there. The MEA spokesperson refused to go into further details, saying it is in the domain of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
What led to Mehul Choksi's court hearings in Dominica:
The businessman had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen. He was detained in neighbouring island country Dominica for illegal entry after a possible romantic escapade. 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.
Rs 13,000 crore PNB Scam:
Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi had fled India in the first week of January 2018 weeks before Rs 13,500 crore scam in Punjab National Bank rocked the Indian banking industry. The duo allegedly bribed the officials of state-run bank to get Letters of Undertaking on the basis of which they availed from overseas banks which remained unpaid. The allegedly corrupt officials did not enter these LoUs in the core banking software of PNB thus evading any scrutiny. The non-payment of these LoUs or bank guarantees worth Rs 13,500 crore resulted in default and became a liability on the bank.
Posted By: Talibuddin Khan