Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi has claimed in an affidavit that he is a “law-abiding citizen” and had left India only for medical treatment in the United States. He further said that he had invited the authorities to “interview” him about anything as part an investigation that maybe underway against him. Choksi, who filed the affidavit before the Dominica High Court where a plea for his deportation to India is being heard, said did not evade law enforcement and there was no warrant against him when he left the country.
According to a report in The Times of India, the absconding businessman made an eight-page submission in this regard. “I have extended an invitation to the Indian authorities to interview me and ask any questions that they may have of me in relation to any investigation they are conducting against me.”
“I did not evade law enforcement in India. There was no warrant against me by the law enforcement authorities in India when I left India to seek medical treatment in the United States of America,” Choksi was quoted as saying in the report.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi had fled India in the first week of January 2018, weeks before a scam in the Punjab National Bank 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.
Meanwhile, the multi-agency team which had gone to Dominica for Choksi’s deportation has returned to India after the Dominica High Court adjourned the hearing. The jet carrying the team led by CBI DIG Sharda Raut departed the Melville Hall Airport in Dominica at 8.09 PM (local time) on June 3 and arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here at 11.02 PM (IST). The team remained stationed for nearly seven days to bring Choksi, wanted in Rs 13,500 crore bank fraud in PNB, to India as legal battle continued in the courts of Dominica.
On Thursday, the Dominica High Court adjourned the hearing on a habeas corpus petition filed by Choksi’s lawyers. A habeas corpus petition is filed for producing before a court a person who is under arrest or in unlawful detention.
It is likely that the next hearing may take place after a month and the businessman will remain in Dominica, local media reported. Judge Bernie Stephenson will decide the next date of hearing after meeting both sides, media outlet Antigua News Room said.