Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

Citing ‘Flight Risk’, Dominica High Court Denies Bail To Fugitive Businessman Mehul Choksi

Indian diamantaire Mehul Choksi has been accused of illegally entering Dominica after fleeing from neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda in May.

Mehul Choksi File Photo

The Dominica High Court Friday denied bail to fugitive Indian businessman Mehul Choksi in connection with a case pertaining to illegal entry into the island country after he fled from neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda last month.

Choksi was reported missing from Antigua and Barbuda on May 25, where he was staying as a citizen since 2018.

While he has been accused of fleeing Antigua and Barbuda and illegally entering Dominica, the fugitive diamantaire has claimed that he was abducted by his ‘friend’ Barbara Jabarica.

In his plea before the Dominica High Court, Choksi stated that Jabarica had abducted him by deploying musclemen claiming to be Antiguan Police and mercenaries looking like Indians.

The high court on Friday (local time) gave the ruling by concluding that Choksi was a "flight risk", did not have any ties with Dominica and the court could not impose any conditions which will stop him from leaving the country, news outlet AntiguaNewsroom said.

Choksi had approached the high court after the magistrate had rejected his bail petition.

The promoter of Geetanjali Gems and other famous diamond brands in India had fled the country weeks before Rs 13,500 crore fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB) allegedly involving him and his nephew Nirav Modi surfaced.

Choksi, 62, who has an Interpol Red Notice against him, had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen after fleeing from India.

Choksi's lawyers alleged that he was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian and brought to Dominica on a boat.

He was also brought before a Roseau magistrate, on the orders of High Court Judge Bernie Stephenson, hearing Habeas Corpus matter, to answer charges of illegal entry where he pleaded not guilty but was denied bail.

(With PTI inputs)