The commencement of the trial into the illegal entry of Mehul Choksi in Dominica was delayed on Monday as the fugitive skipped the hearing at the Roseau Magistrate court. While his lawyers alleged that he was kidnapped, beaten, and unwillingly brought to Dominica on May 23, he has been charged with illegally entering the country via Toucari Beach. Despite Choksi pleading not guilty to the charge, Magistrate Candia Carrette-George denied him bail on June 2. She had agreed with the prosecution and expressed apprehension that the former will not stay in Dominica during the trial considering the “severity” of the matter.
During Monday’s hearing, Dominica’s Director of Public Prosecutions Sherma Dalrymple told the court that it is ready to start the trial. However, the PNB scam accused’s lawyers submitted a medical certificate signed by a doctor from the Dominica China Friendship Hospital. As per the certificate, Mehul Choksi was unable to appear in court owing to “mental stress” and high blood pressure. While the matter was adjourned to 9 am on June 25, the fugitive diamantaire was asked to appear before the court on June 17 for further remand.
Speaking to Republic TV a day earlier, Mehul Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal remarked, “You have seen the torture marks. You uproot a man from Antigua and throw him in Dominica. He is in hospital. And let me tell you, because of his blood clot problem, heart ailments, his medical position has worsened because of this torture and is virtually on the deathbed.”
#RepublicGetsChoksiFiles You’ve seen torture marks; he’s been uprooted from where he was & put in Dominica. Because of his blood clot problems & heart issues his condition has worsened & he’s virtually on death-bed: Vijay Aggarwal, Mehul Choksi’s Lawyer https://t.co/rGQJsiKgt2 pic.twitter.com/IHvufbQg3S — Republic (@republic) June 14, 2021
Mehul Choksi’s legal woes compound
with Nirav Modi, he has 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. While India formally sought Choksi’s extradition in August 2018, Browne commenced the process of revoking his citizenship on October 14, 2019.
The Mehul Choksi citizenship issue gained traction again after he was reported “missing” on May 23 after going out for dinner. 4 days later, the Dominican government issued an official statement confirming that the fugitive had been detained for illegal entry into the country. Thereafter, the Antigua and Barbuda PM refused to accept him back and held that the PNB scam accused can be repatriated to India on being declared persona non grata by Dominica. Meanwhile, the Dominican High Court judge Wynante Adrien-Roberts rejected Mehul Choksi’s bail plea deeming him a “flight risk”.