Dominica denies bail to absconding diamond tycoon Mehul Choksi
A Dominica magistrate has denied bail to absconding diamond tycoon Mehul Choksi, who was arrested on May 23 for alleged illegal entry to the Caribbean island country, the local media reported.
Choksi, wanted in India in connection with a Rs 13,500-crore fraud in the Punjab National Bank (PNB), pleaded before the magistrate that he was abducted and forcibly brought to Dominica from neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda, about 100 nautical miles away, Dominica News Online reported.
Dominica High Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing on a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of Choksi. Judge Bernie Stephenson will decide the next date of hearing after meeting both sides, Antigua News Room said.
The court had ordered Choksi to be presented before the magistrate to face charges of illegal entry. A habeas corpus petition is filed for producing before a court a person who is under arrest or in unlawful detention.
“Our stand that Mehul Choksi is in illegal detention as he was required to be produced within 72 hours before the magistrate and was not so produced has been vindicated. Contrary to media reports, there was no discussion regarding the government of India,” Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said.
Meanwhile, Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs, on Thursday told reporters: “He (Choksi) is currently in the custody of Dominica where some legal proceedings are underway. We will continue to ensure that he is brought back to India,” MEA spokesperson told reporters.
The cabinet of Antigua prefers that Choksi be repatriated from Dominica to India directly.
Armed with a court order, a consortium of lenders led by SBI can now sell certain real estate properties and securities belonging to fugitive Vijay Mallya to recover loans turned bad with failure of Kingfisher Airlines.
A consortium of 11 banks that gave Mallya loans had approached a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court seeking restoration of his properties seized by the Enforcement Directorate. The special PMLA court in Mumbai on Tuesday allowed the restoration of properties worth Rs 5,646.54 crore to banks.