The government of Dominica has washed its hands of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi and told the court that he must be deported to India; this was submitted during a hearing on a habeas corpus plea filed by Choksi.
Choksi’s legal team – in all, seven lawyers -- is arguing that he had been whisked away from Antigua harbour and brought to Dominica. If the court accepts the argument, he will be sent back to Antigua, where he had acquired citizenship and escaped before he could be brought to India. That should effectively block his extradition to India; or at least it will get entangled in local Antiguan laws which suits Choski.
India, which has sent Choksi’s extradition papers to Dominica in a chartered aircraft along with an 8-member legal team, has contended that the fugitive diamond merchant had acquired Antiguan citizenship based on false declarations.
Last week, on May 28, the Dominican court had “restrained" authorities from removing Choksi from the Caribbean island country till further orders. The order came on a petition filed by the lawyers of Choksi, who was detained in Dominica for “illegal entry".
The diamond merchant has claimed that he was picked up at Jolly Harbour in Antigua by men who looked like Indian and Antiguan policemen and was put in a vessel. After being taken from Antigua, Choksi was kept somewhere and then on Monday he was taken to a Dominica police station, media reports said. Since then, a picture has been doing the rounds which show bruises on his arms and a bloodshot eye.
``There is something fishy and I guess it was a strategy to take him to another country so that there are chances of sending him back to India. So, I don’t know what forces are operating. Only time will tell," Choksi’s lawyer said.
Meanwhile, media reports have surfaced about Mehul Choksi's brother promising election funding to Dominica's Leader of the Opposition Lennox Linton in exchange for pushing the theory that Mehul was abducted from Antigua and brought to Dominica, so that he could be extradited to India. These reports are a lie, said Choksi's lawyer Vijay Aggarwal. He asserted that elder brother Chetan Chinu Bhai Choksi had arrived in Dominica only to see if Mehul was medically taken care of.
Calling the report that he had received USD 200,000 as 'absolute garbage', Linton said the political opposition in Dominica had no contacts with Mehul Choksi, his agents or his associates.