The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said India remains steadfast in its effort to ensure fugitives are brought back to justice, regarding the repatriation of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said certain legal processes were on to bring Choksi back to India. “We understand that he is in the custody of Dominican authorities, and certain legal proceedings are underway. For further details on legal and technical parts of this case, will have to refer you to the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the MEA said.
A Dominican magistrate court on Thursday had rejected the bail application of Choksi, in connection with his illegal entry into the country.
Following the hearing, Choksi’s legal representation told the press that they will appeal to the upper court. “Will will move the upper court,” said Vijay Aggarwal, Choksi’s lawyer.
The court heard the extradition case of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, who had allegedly fled there from Antigua and Barbuda last week, on Thursday, concluding the proceedings.
Choksi is said to have attended the hearing virtually from the hospital. Sources told CNN-News18 that the Dominica police carried the chargesheet to the court. Teams from Indian agencies were also present, they said, adding that seven lawyers represented Choksi in court.
Dominican Leader of Opposition Lennox Linton, who is in hot water for his alleged collusion with Choksi’s brother Chetan, was also present in court, sources said.
Top sources in the government told CNN-News18 that any concrete outcome is unlikely and the matter will drag to higher courts.
Choksi’s arrest has created turbulence in the calm political waters of the neighbouring Caribbean Island countries — Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica -where allegations have been levelled against opposition parties supporting the businessman having an Interpol Red Notice against him.
Dominican Leader of Opposition Lennox Linton had to issue a denial on the reports of meeting Chetan Choksi, the brother of Mehul Choksi, or receiving any money from him.
“I do not know Chetan Choksi. I have never seen him. I have never spoken to him. I have never met with him,” Dominica News Online quoted a video message released by Linton.
Local media outlet Associate Times had alleged that Choksi arrived on a private jet on May 29 and met Linton at his home in Marigot locality the next day for nearly two hours where he gave token money of USD 2 lakh and promised funding for elections in return for raising the issue in Parliament.
The outlet alleged that Linton was quiet on the Mehul Choksi affair till meeting his brother Chetan. After the meeting, he started attacks on the government over the arrest of the fugitive diamantaire.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted for allegedly siphoning Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) using letters of undertaking.
While Modi is in a London prison after being repeatedly denied bail and is contesting his extradition to India, Choksi took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 using the Citizenship by Investment programme before fleeing India in the first week of January 2018. The scam came to light subsequently.