The photo of Mehul Choksi was released by a local media that shows him behind the bars and sustaining several injuries. (Image: Antigua News Room)
The Indian Government, through legal representation from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), will file an affidavit with the Dominican Court today explaining that Mehul Choksi is still an Indian citizen and a ‘wanted’ person in the country, CNN-News18 reported.
The aim is to become a party in the court’s hearing on Choksi and the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are “working in tandem” to bring Choksi back to India, government sources told the news channel.
As per the sources, the ED will file an affidavit in the Dominica Court either later today or early tomorrow morning explaining that Mehul Choksi is still an Indian citizen.
The affidavit will be ready and vetted by the government this afternoon and then be given to Dominican authorities, they added.
Mehul Choksi’s case is to be heard in the Dominican Court tomorrow (June 2) and they will hence send the affidavit before the hearing begins.
Sources said that GoI is “very keen” on being part of the case that is going on in Dominica and for that, they are going to file an affidavit explaining that Mehul Choksi, who is on the run after cheating Punjab National Bank (PNB) for more than Rs 13,000 crore along with his nephew Nirav Modi is “very much wanted in India”.
The affidavit will explain that he is an Indian citizen and as such the ED and CBI would like to be made a party to the hearing and they would like to bring him (Choksi) back to India.
Notably, Choksi’s lawyers are likely to use the defence that he holds an Antiguan passport and is hence an Antiguan citizen. They will point out that under the Indian Citizenship Act, the moment an Indian takes another citizenship they cease to be an Indian citizen.
However, the Antiguan government has said that Choksi’s passport stands cancelled. So the issue is not yet cut and dried.
The ED has registered a case against Choksi under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) while the CBI has filed a case against him under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The report noted that both want to prosecute Choksi and are hence “working in tandem” to ensure he is brought back.
Future developments will however be dependent on how the Dominican Court responds to India’s affidavits and its consequent ruling on Choksi.
The report noted that India is seeking to present that at present the court only has Choksi’s point of view and they be made party to the case since he is an Indian citizen and on the run for money laundering and cheating.
Earlier on May 29, the Dominica High Court has stayed the removal of Choksi from its soil and put a gag order on the developments till the matter is heard in an open court on June 2.
The 62-year-old Choksi alleged that he was abducted from Jolly Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian and taken to Dominica.
Pictures of Choksi in Dominica have recently surfaced, which shows him behind the bars with red swollen eye and bruises on his hands.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted for allegedly siphoning Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) using letters of undertaking. Both of them are facing a CBI probe.
While Modi is in a London prison after being repeatedly denied bail and is contesting his extradition to India, Choksi took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 using the Citizenship by Investment programme before fleeing India in the first week of January 2018. The scam came to light subsequently.
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne in a radio programme on May 29 said that India has sent a private jet to Dominica carrying documents related to Choksi’s deportation.
A Qatar Airways private jet landed at the Douglas-Charles airport in Dominica, Antigua News Room reported, leading to speculations about the deportation of Choksi who was detained in the Caribbean island nation after his mysterious disappearance from neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda.