NEW DELHI: Amid ongoing efforts to bring back Mehul Choksi, the sources on Monday said that the government is confident that the fugitive diamond diamantaire would be deported back to the country to face trial in the multi-crore PNB loan fraud scam.
Sources further said that the government’s legal team is closely following the developments related to Mehul Choksi in Dominica. As per available data, between January 2018 to July 2019, a total of 148 Indian nationals were deported from the UK. These people were deported on the grounds of their illegal entry into the UK.
In addition to the above, the UK immigration authorities and the Home Office has taken Emergency Travel Document from the High Commission of India ( HCI) for more than 1574 additional Indian nationals, who will be deported on the grounds of their illegal entry as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions are normalized.
The government sources sai that the deportation data with effect from July 2020 till date is awaited at the moment.
In a related development, the fugitive diamantaire has disclosed the names of his alleged abductors to the Antiguan police. In an affidavit filed before the Dominica High Court, Choksi claimed that he is a “law-abiding citizen” and that he had left India only to seek medical treatment in the United States.
He told the Dominica High Court that the Indian authorities can “interview” him anytime as part of an investigation that is underway against him.
Meanwhile, Antigua police have commenced an investigation into the possible abduction of Mehul Choksi from Antigua on May 23, 2021, according to Antigua News Room. Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that Choksi’s lawyers wrote to the Police Commissioner providing the names of the people who allegedly abducted him.
Browne said that the police and the government are taking the allegations seriously, according to the Antigua News Room.
Choksi, accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam, got interim relief from immediate repatriation to India by the Dominican court which adjourned the matter of his detention on Thursday. As the next date of hearing is yet to be fixed, the court proceedings are likely to take time.
According to local media reports, his team of lawyers connived with the opposition leaders to pressure the judiciary, which rather than questioning Choksi`s illegal entry from Antigua to Dominica, believed his lawyers` version that he was abducted.
Reports about Choksi’s plan to escape to Cuba have also come to the fore. It may be recalled that Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank loan fraud case.
Choksi fled the country and was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in January 2018. He is involved in a legal battle to prevent his extradition to India. Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on May 23 after going out for dinner and was soon caught in Dominica.
He was charged with illegal entry by the police in Dominica after he allegedly escaped from Antigua and Barbuda in a possible attempt to evade extradition to India.
(With Additional Agency Inputs)