In a relief for fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, a Dominican Court has ordered the authorities there to admit him in a hospital and even subject him to Covid testing. The court has further ordered the authorities there not to remove Choksi out of Dominica till June 1.
Meanwhile, the United Progressive Party (UPP), the opposition party in Dominica has reminded the country’s PM Gaston Browne to “perform his duty to protect the constitutional rights of all the citizens, including Choksi.” Choksi, along with nephew Nirav Modi, is named in an ED probe in the Rs14,000 crore money laundering and fraud case pertaining to the PNB.
As per the order by Justice ME Birnie Stephenson, Choksi has been ordered to be admitted in the Dominica China Friendship Hospital for “medical attention”. He is ordered to be subjected to a Covid test.
The judge has also ordered pursuant to the test’s results the authorities will decide on where to keep Choksi. The court further ordered the authorities not to take any steps to remove Choksi out of Dominica, till June 1, when the matter would be heard next.
Meanwhile, the UPP wrote to PM Browne condemning his “wild” statements against Choksi. “Choksi, who is facing extradition to India by way of the normal legal and constitutional process, alleged he was abducted and taken against his will to Dominica,” the UPP letter noted.
“In a shocking statement on the matter, PM Browne indicated the government of Dominica should deport Mr. Choksi directly to India and not return him to Antigua and Barbuda as he would be protected by the Constitution here. This statement is both irresponsible and frightening,” the opposition party said.
The UPP said it is not for the PM to decide who is entitled to the protection of the Constitution. “We are a nation of laws: Every citizen of Antigua and Barbuda is entitled to due process and the rule of law must be respected by all,” the party stated.
The letter added the Brown administration granted Dominican citizenship to Choksi, after which his Indian citizenship automatically got cancelled, as per the provisions of the Indian Citizenship Act. “Accordingly, as inconvenient and embarrassing as it maybe for the Government, Mr Choksi is a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda — not India. The alleged abduction and beating of Mr Choksi already paint an unflattering picture of the country, and PM Browne’s deliberate attempt to subvert and corrupt the rule of law makes us look even worse.”
“The UPP condemns the PM’s statement and calls on him to respect the constitutional rights of all citizens and desist from wild and illconsidered utterances,” it read.
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