In a sensational development, Republic exclusively accessed the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI’s) affidavit filed at the Dominican Court against fugitive Mehul Choksi as India took a massive step to get the PNB scam accused back. In its affidavit filed at the Dominica High Court against Mehul Choski which has been accessed by Republic TV, the CBI highlighted that a non-bailable warrant had been used by a competent court on 23 May 2018 against Mehul Choksi who has been accused of being the mastermind & conspiring with bank officials to raise credit by abusing the procedures of the bank over a period of time.

CBI’s affidavit against Mehul Choksi at Dominica High Court accessed

The CBI, in its affidavit filed at the Dominican High Court affidavit signed by CBI officer Sharada Raut, highlighted that a charge sheet had been filed against Mehul Choksi on 16 May 2018 and that he was charged with offences of cheating, corruption and others. Further, it also pointed out that a red-corner notice had been issued against Mehul Choksi and submitted a copy of the notice to the Dominican Court. Further, the affidavit informed that upon his arrest, Mehul Choksi would be produced before the competent court in which the CBI has filed chargesheet for offences related to corruption and bribery, and added that he would also be produced in the Indian courts where complaints related to money laundering have been filed against him.

The CBI, in its affidavit, ruled out questioning Mehul Choksi at a place of his choice citing that the fugitive had to be confronted with a large volume of evidence. It also noted that Choksi had to be produced before an Indian court to face proceedings under Indian law for offences committed in India. The CBI’s affidavit further claimed that Mehul Choksi was aware of proceedings against him in India and highlighted that he had appointed lawyers who had recently given interviews to the press and furthered Choksi’s version of events that occurred in Dominica. The CBI accused Mehul Choksi of suppressing the matters of his pending procedures in India from the Dominican Court.

CBI forms 3 teams to repatriate Mehul Choksi

Streamlining India’s efforts to repatriate fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, sources reported on Saturday that the CBI has 3 teams in UK, India, and Dominica. The first team is assisting Queen’s Counsel and senior advocate Harish Salve in UK, one team is assisting the Ministry of External affairs to comb through documents for deportation while the other team will deal with Dominican authorities. Choksi has been denied bail by the Dominican High Court as he was a ‘flight risk’.

Sources further stated that the agencies are concentrating on various aspects of the case – establishing Mehul Choksi’s citizenship (Antiguan or Indian), the magnitude of the crime of the PNB scam. Furthermore, these teams also comprise of officials from the various security agencies (CBI, ED) and different govt departments like the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External affairs. India has already 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. Two impleadment applications – one by CBI and another by MEA too have been filed in the Dominican HC.

Mehul Choksi denied bail by Dominica HC

Earlier in the day, Dominican High Court stated that Choksi 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. Choksi has already been declared a ‘prohibited immigrant’ by the Dominican government on May 25, warning 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 currently housed in Dominica-China Friendship Hospital under police guard after being denied bail.