On Thursday, Republic TV accessed two crucial documents which indicate that India’s legal strategy for Mehul Choksi’s extradition from Dominica is succeeding.
On Thursday, Republic TV accessed two crucial documents which indicate that India’s legal strategy for Mehul Choksi’s extradition from Dominica is succeeding. First, the order of Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts dated June 14 denying bail to the fugitive states that reliance was placed on the affidavits filed by the Centre. In its affidavit, the CBI highlighted that a non-bailable warrant had been issued on May 23, 2018, against Choksi who has been accused of being the mastermind of the PNB scam.
On the other hand, the Ministry of External Affairs too had filed an affidavit opposing his bail. It highlighted that the Indian High Commission in Georgetown had rejected the PNB scam accused’s citizenship renunciation application in 2019 itself based on the MHA’s recommendation. Maintaining that Mehul Choksi continues to be an Indian citizen, it urged the court to order his deportation to India. Rejecting the bail petition, Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts had observed that he is a “flight risk”.
Meanwhile, the arrest complaint dated May 28 accessed by Republic TV shows that the Dominican authorities have charged the fugitive diamantaire under the Immigration and Passport Act. While his lawyers alleged that he was kidnapped, beaten and unwillingly brought to Dominica, he has been charged with illegally entering the country via Toucarie Bay, which is not an approved port of entry. India has also consistently opposed the ‘abduction’ theory. It is pertinent to note that Magistrate Candia Carrette-George had denied Mehul Choksi bail on June 2 despite him pleading not guilty to the ‘illegal entry’ charge.
Mehul Choksi’s legal woes
Mehul Choksi secured the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in November 2017 under the aegis of the Citizenship by Investment Programme and fled to the island nation in the first week of January 2018. While India formally sought Choksi’s extradition in August 2018, Browne commenced the process of revoking his citizenship on October 14, 2019. The Mehul Choksi citizenship issue gained traction again after he was reported “missing” on May 23 after going out for dinner.
4 days later, the Dominican government issued an official statement confirming that the fugitive had been detained for illegal entry into the country. Thereafter, the Antigua and Barbuda PM refused to accept him back and held that the PNB scam accused can be repatriated to India on being declared persona non grata by Dominica. Technically in police custody, Choksi is still admitted to the Dominica China Friendship Hospital.