Dominica court rejects Mehul Choksi’s bail plea in case on illegal entry to country

Mehul Choksi has now been sent to the hospital under police protection for the treatment of injuries sustained by him.

A Magistrate court of Dominica has rejected the bail application of fugitive diamond jeweller Mehul Choksi in connection with his illegal entry into the country.

Choksi has now been sent to the hospital under police protection for the treatment of injuries sustained by him.

On Wednesday, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) directed that Choksi should be produced before the magistrate in connection with the case pertaining to his illegal entry into the Caribbean island nation.

This direction of the high court came while it was hearing the petition of Choksi against deportation to India.

The Dominican Public Prosecution Service has told the ESCS that Choksi should be deported to India as his plea is not maintainable. Choksi’s lawyers have argued that he is not a citizen of India as Article 9 of the Indian Constitution states that any person who acquires citizenship of a foreign country will automatically cease to be a citizen of India. The high court will resume hearing the case on Thursday.

Choksi is accused of defrauding the public-sector Punjab National Bank (PNB) for almost Rs 13,600 crore. He has been out of India since January 7, 2018, days before the PNB scam came to light. On January 15, 2018, he took the oath of citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda.

On May 23, Choksi was reported missing in Antigua and Barbuda. The next day, he was caught by the local police of Dominica, reportedly when he arrived on a boat. Subsequently, Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said that his government has “specifically requested” Dominica “to have Indian law enforcement agencies make necessary arrangements to have him (Choksi) returned directly to India”.

However, Choksi’s legal team has claimed the 62-year businessman did not flee Antigua but was abducted by laying a honey trap.

According to his lawyers, Choksi was befriended by a woman over the last six months, called to an apartment in Antigua on May 23, and abducted by a group of men from there. He was then allegedly beaten up and forced into a yacht before being ferried to Dominica.

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