Mehul Choksi tells Dominican court that he is ‘law abiding citizen’, seeks permission to return to Antigua2 min read

BY- BRAJ KISHORE MISHRA

The fugitive diamond tycoon Mehul Choksi is facing one of the most difficult times of his entire life. Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on May 23 after going out for dinner and further got caught in Dominica. He was then charged with illegal entry by the authorities in Dominica after he allegedly escaped from Antigua and Barbuda in a possible attempt to avoid extradition to India. However, the diamond businessman holds citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda since January 2018. He has been trying since then to prevent his extradition to India. After being presented in the High Court of Dominica on Sunday, Mr. Choksi disclosed the name of the alleged abductors to the Antiguan police and told the court that the concerned Indian authorities can ‘interview’ him any time as a part of the investigation that is going on in the country against him. Further, he added that no warrant was issued against him by the law enforcement authorities in India when he left for medical urgency in the United States of America.

The fugitive diamond tycoon has claimed in an affidavit that he is a “law-abiding citizen, respect and follows the legal norms and conduct of the nation.” According to Mr.Choksi, he had left India only for his medical treatment in the USA. Fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi and his cousin Nirav Modi have been issued an arrest warrant in connection with the $1.8 billion Punjab National Bank fraud. After the news of the arrest of fugitive diamond trader in Dominica, Antigua, and Barbuda, Prime Minister Gaston Brown has asked Dominica to hand over Mehul Choksi to India directly and immediately. Further, he added that Choksi needs to return to India where he can face the various charges leveled against him.

Meanwhile, the CBI team which had departed to Dominica on June 3 had arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The team has carried out efforts for around seven days to bring fugitive Mehul Choksi. The Dominican High Court adjourned the hearing on the habeas corpus petition filed by the legal team of Mehul Choksi. It is likely that the next hearing may take place after a month and the businessman will remain in Dominica. While addressing a UNGA special session on the challenges and measures to fight corruption, one of the union ministers representing India, called for international support and cooperation for making a mechanism for the return of fugitive economic offenders to the respective nation.

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