Home >News >India >Mehul Choksi repatriation: Multi-agency team in Dominica to bring back fugutive

A team of multi-agency experts, led by a CBI DIG, is in Dominica to bring back fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi if the court in the Caribbean allows his deportation to India, reported PTI.

Quoting official sources, the news agency said that the team consists of two members of the CBI and officials of the other agencies.

The officers are coordinating with the local prosecutors to put forward India's best case before the high court.

The team is arguing that Choksi continues to be an Indian citizen with an Interpol Red Notice against him.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) had earlier restrained Choksi's deportation until further order and posted the matter for hearing on 2 June.

The absconding businessman had gone missing on 23 May from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen. He was detained in neighbouring Dominica for illegal entry after a possible romantic escapade with his rumoured girlfriend.

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.

His pictures emerged from Dominica having red swollen eyes and body marks.

The Dominican government had issued a statement that it is ascertaining the status of his citizenship with Antigua and once confirmed, he would be deported there.

However, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne had said that Dominica and law enforcement agencies can deport him to India unless to court rules otherwise.

He said his request on behalf of Antigua is for Dominica to consider deporting Choksi directly to India "as a form of state cooperation to apprehend a fugitive".

"The problem is, if he is sent back to Antigua because he is an Antiguan citizen, even though his citizenship is unsettled, he will still enjoy constitutional and legal protections as a citizen. We have no doubt that his citizenship will ultimately be revoked because he did not disclose material of information," he said.

Private jet in Dominica

India dispatched a jet with documents related to cases against Choksy to Dominica on 28 May.

"Yes, I can confirm that is the jet there. My understanding is that the Indian government has sent certain documents from courts in India to confirm that he is indeed a fugitive and my understanding is that the documents will be utilised in the court case," confirmed Browne.

"As you know the judge in Dominica has put a stay on deportation till Wednesday. So Indian government seems to be going all out to make sure he is repatriated to India to stand trial," he added.

Case against Choksi

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi had fled India in the first week of January 2018 weeks before 13,500 crore scam in Punjab National Bank rocked the Indian banking industry.

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

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

Modi escaped to Europe and was finally held in London where he is contesting his extradition to India while Choksi took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 where he had been staying since his escape from Delhi.

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