New Delhi: In its recent developments, Indian government has sent the deportation documents for fugitive Mehul Choksi – the diamond merchant wanted for the PNB loan scam – to Dominica.
The 62-year-old diamantaire is currently in Caribbean island nation, where he was caught while trying to flee to Cuba from Antigua. Mehul has been living in Antigua since 2018 after obtaining citizenship.
Sources in India’s investigating agencies — the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate — said only case files have been sent Dominica. The foreign ministry is coordinating the case of Mehul Choksi with the governments of Dominica and Antigua and the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are assisting with case details, sources said.
Asked about a private jet that arrived in Dominica on May 28, Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne confirmed it to the local media today.
“My understanding is that the Indian government has sent some documentation from the courts in India to confirm that Mr Choksi is indeed a fugitive and my understanding is that the documentation will be utilised in the court hearing next Wednesday,” Mr Browne told the Antigua News Room.
“The Indian government seems to be going all out to ensure that he is repatriated to India so that he can stand charges there,” he added.
Sources said Mehul Choksi’s escape from Antigua has made his deportation much easier.
“Mehul Choksi ended up in Dominica on ‘personal issues’, agencies have no role in that. “Allegations of abduction against Indian agencies are baseless. With Dominica charging Choksi of illegally entering their territory, our case has got lot more easier,” an official said.
After Mehul Choksi was caught in Dominica earlier this week, Prime Minister Browne had said he has made a “monumental mistake” and should be immediately deported to India. “We will not accept him back,” Mr Browne had said according to a news agency.
Today, news agency quoted Mr Browne as saying that if Mehul Choksi is deported to Antigua, he will continue to enjoy the legal and constitutional protections of citizenship.
“We respect the jurisdiction of the court over this matter. My request on behalf of the state, for Dominica to consider deporting Choksi directly to India, as a form of state cooperation to apprehend a fugitive, is perfectly acceptable,” he added.
A court in Antigua has put Mehul Choksi’s deportation on hold after his lawyers claimed that he cannot be sent to India as he is no longer a citizen of the country.
Officials in India said charge-sheets have been filed against him on charges of cheating, corruption, criminal conspiracy by the CBI and on charges of money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate.