As Mehul Choksi’s lawyer filed a habeas corpus petition, a court in Dominica stayed Choksi’s repatriation from Dominica.
Bengaluru: Mehul Choksi’s repatriation from Dominica has been stayed by a Dominican court, as Choksi’s lawyer filed a habeas corpus petition in Dominica.
“The legal team has filed a habeas corpus petition in Dominica for Mehul Choksi and have also highlighted deprivation of access to Mehul Choksi and deprivation of constitutional rights to legal assistance,” Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal told PTI.
The High Court of Justice in Dominica “restrained” the authorities from “removing” Choksi till further orders and listed the matter for hearing on Friday (May 28, 2021 at 9 am local time), Antigua News Room reported.
Baljinder Singh, a lawyer at Punjab and Haryana High Court, said that as per the petition, it is the responsibility of the authority to bring the person that is allegedly caught by them in front of the court. Until he is presented in front of the court, he cannot be sent to India. “These orders are just interim orders and they are not final. The diplomatic routes are still open and he can still be sent to India,” said Baljinder.
A report by Antigua News Room stated a press release by the Ministry of National Security Dominica which said, “The Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs confirmed that Mr. Mehul Choksi, a citizen of India, is wanted by the Indian authorities and has been detained by law enforcement for illegal entry into Dominica. A red alert has also been issued by Interpol bearing Mr. Choksi’s name.”
The report added, “The Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs is in communication with the authorities of Antigua and Barbuda to ascertain some facts including the status of his Antiguan Citizenship.”
Choksi, who is wanted in a Rs. 13,500-crore loan fraud in the Punjab National Bank was captured in Dominica, about 100 nautical miles away, on May 26, for illegal entry. PTI reported that Choksi’s lawyer in Dominica, Wayne Marsh, had told a radio show that in a brief interaction with his client, allowed by authorities after a lot of efforts, the diamantaire had claimed that he was picked up at Jolly Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda by men looking like Indian and Antiguan policemen and was put in a vessel.
Marsh had said he saw marks on Choksi’s body who had swollen eyes and feared for his life. He said Choksi is a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda and not India.
Aggarwal called the entire episode of Choksi’s mysterious disappearance and detention in Dominica “fishy”.