Mehul Choksi can only be sent back to Antigua and Barbuda since he is a citizen of the Caribbean island nation and not India, the fugitive businessman’s legal team in Delhi has said after he was captured in Dominica, another island nation.
The National Security and Home Affairs Ministry of Dominica on Thursday confirmed they have arrested Mr Choksi, 62, for illegally entering the country, sources have said.
Dominica is in touch with the Antiguan authorities to find out the exact details of Mr Choksi’s citizenship status of the Caribbean nation so that he could be repatriated to Antigua, people familiar with the matter said.
An Interpol alert to catch Mr Choksi is already in effect.
Dominica’s position that possible arrangements would be made to send back Mr Choksi to Antigua is the same as what his legal team in Delhi has said.
“Mehul Choksi did not reach Dominica voluntarily,” the fugitive businessman’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal told NDTV, adding there was “something fishy” in the way he came to Dominica.
“Moreover, there is an Antiguan high court order against the processing of any request from India, so my understanding is that he has to be sent back to Antigua only – there is no question of him being sent to India,” Mr Aggarwal said.
Mr Choksi was caught when he was allegedly trying to escape to Cuba from Antigua, where he had been living since 2018 after leaving India. He reportedly left Antigua and took a boat to neighbouring Dominica. With an Interpol lookout circular against him, he was caught by the police from a beach in Dominica.
The diamond jeweler, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, is wanted by Indian investigating agencies for allegedly swindling Rs 13,500 crore as loans from state-run Punjab National Bank using fake documents. Nirav Modi, jailed in London, is contesting his extradition to India.