New Delhi: A magistrate court in Dominica on Thursday (June 17, 2021) sent the absconding businessman Mehul Choksi to state prison, his lawyer in India said, but added that he would continue to remain in hospital as his medical condition “deteriorated". The fugitive diamantaire was earlier in police custody.
“Yes, police custody has been changed to prison custody but he shall remain in hospital as his medical condition has deteriorated," lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said.
This is being seen as a positive development for India’s effort which has approached the Dominica High Court seeking to be impleaded as a party in the case filed by lawyers of Mehul Choksi.
Mehul Choksi’s legal team had submitted a medical certificate from doctors at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital, where Choksi is undergoing treatment, of "mental stress" and elevated blood pressure.
The absconding businessman is wanted in India in a case of loan fraud worth about Rs 13,500 crore in the state-run Punjab National Bank.
The CBI and the Ministry of External Affairs have sought to be impleaded in the habeas corpus matter, which seeks return of Choksi to Antigua and Barbuda, by filing two affidavits in the Dominica High Court, officials said here.
The central agency is likely to focus on establishing criminal culpability of Choksi, fugitive status, pending warrants against him, Red Notice and charge sheets while the Ministry of External Affairs will argue that Choksi continues to be an Indian citizen, they said.
Meanwhile, the CBI on Wednesday had filed a supplementary charge sheet against him alleging him of having prior knowledge of the impending Enforcement Directorate (ED) enquiries against Choksi in 2017 which triggered him to plan his escape from India and cover his tracks by concealing evidence.
The CBI in its supplementary charge sheet has invoked Section 201 of the IPC among other charges which pertain to the destruction of evidence by a suspect as part of criminal conspiracy.
Additionally, Choki’s legal team said that their client was unlawfully removed from Antigua and Barbuda, adding that as a citizen he enjoys the right to approach the British Privy Council in case of extradition. Choksi’s lawyer Polak also added that the English authorities have "universal jurisdiction" to probe such cases.
"The aim was to remove him from Antigua to Dominica was to diminish his protection under the law. Choksi has ongoing proceedings in Antigua in regards to attempts by the Prime Minister to remove his citizenship, the only citizenship that he possesses, and to extradite him to India," his lawyer had said.
(With PTI inputs)