In another setback to fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, the Dominica high Court on Saturday denied him bail stating that he was a ‘flight risk’, as per local media reports. The CBI team – led by SP Sharda Raut has filed an affidavit in the High Court stating that Choksi is an Indian citizen and is wanted in a Rs 13,000 crore bank scam, highlighting the need to take him back to India. Choksi is currently housed in Dominica-China Friendship Hospital under police guard after being denied bail.
Choksi denied bail by Dominica HC
The HC stated that he has no ties to Dominica and the court cannot impose any conditions which will assure it that he wouldn’t abscond. Dominica High Court also pointed out how Choksi proposed that he will stay with his brother in the hotel, but that is not a fixed address. The court also highlighted that Mehul Choksi didn’t offer any strong surety before the court while he sought bail and he’s a flight risk too, noting that his trial has not started yet.
Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi has been denied bail by the High Court in Dominica, on the grounds that he is a flight risk: Local media
(File pic) pic.twitter.com/7ibr6W5Ar3 — ANI (@ANI) June 12, 2021
Mehul Choksi labelled ‘prohibited immigrant’
On Thursday, Republic TV accessed an order dated 25 May issued by the Dominica govt declaring Mehul Choksi a ‘prohibited immigrant’. The Dominican National Security and Home Affairs ministry has ordered its police to take necessary action to remove Choksi from Dominica as per the procedure. The ministry also told Choksi that he is not allowed to enter Dominica and that the police have been instructed to take all necessary action to have him repatriated.
Mehul Choksi arrested
Mehul Choksi purportedly went “missing” after going out for dinner in Antigua island on May 23 and could not be traced even though his vehicle was traced in the Jolly Harbour later. Following a yellow notice alert, Dominican authorities arrested Choksi for allegedly illegally entering the country via Toucari Beach. While Choksi is seeking to be repatriated to Antigua where he enjoys citizenship, Antigua PM Gaston Browne has now refused to grant him entry in Antigua and asked the Dominican government to directly deport him to India. An eight-member team of the CBI, the ED, and the Ministry of External Affairs had flown to Dominica to pursue the case for Choksi’s deportation, but have now returned to India.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, have been accused of allegedly siphoning off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the Punjab National Bank (PNB), using letters of undertaking. Owner of the Gitanjali group, a retail jewellery company, Choksi secured the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in November 2017 under the aegis of the Citizenship by Investment Programme and fled to the island nation in the first week of January 2018 and India formally sought Choksi’s extradition in August 2018. While the UK has ordered Modi’s deportation, Choksi is yet to face such heat.