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Home >News >India >Mehul Choksi extradition: Team sent to get fugitive returns from Dominica

A team of multi-agency experts, which was in Dominica to bring back fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, returned to India on Friday, reported news agency PTI.

Led by CBI DIG Sharda Raut, the team departed from the Melville Hall Airport in Dominica on a Qatar Airways private jet after the court in the Caribbean island adjourned hearing related to Choksi's extradition.

The experts were in Dominica for nearly seven days to bring back Choksi if the court had allowed.

On Thursday, the hearing on a habeas corpus plea filed by the businessman's lawyers was adjourned. It is likely that the next hearing may take place after a month, forcing Choksi to be in Dominica until then, according to local media.

Judge Bernie Stephenson will decide the next date of hearing after meeting both sides.

The decision for the adjournment was taken to allow the lawyers of 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", court said.

Thursday's hearing was conducted through videoconferencing while a group of protesters stood outside the High Court building in Roseau carrying placards. "Who brought Choksi to Dominica?" read one of them.

The judge had on Wednesday ordered production of Choksi before the magistrate to face charges of illegal entry into Dominica.

The 62-year-old wheelchair-bound diamantaire, who has a pending Interpol Red Notice against him, arrived before presiding Roseau Magistrate Court in black shorts and a blue T-shirt from the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital, where he is undergoing treatment. His application for bail was rejected.

Charges on Choksi

The businessman is wanted in India for 13,500 crore bank fraud in Punjab National Bank.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi had fled India in the first week of January 2018, weeks before the PNB scam rocked the Indian banking industry.

The duo allegedly bribed officials of the state-run bank to get Letters of Undertaking (LoU) on the basis of which they availed loans from overseas banks that remained unpaid.

The allegedly corrupt bank officials did not enter these LoUs in the core banking software of PNB, thus evading scrutiny. The non-payment of these LoUs or bank guarantees worth 13,500 crore resulted in default and became a liability on the bank.

Choksi had mysteriously gone missing on 23 May from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen since he fled Delhi.

He was detained in the neighbouring island country Dominica for illegal entry.

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.

Modi escaped to Europe and was finally held in London, where he is contesting his extradition to India. Choksi took the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017.

With inputs from agencies.

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