New Delhi: Even as India is trying to extradite fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who is wanted in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case and was captured in Dominica, his lawyer Vijay Agarwal claimed that the Gitanjali group chairman was forced to get into a vessel from Antigua and he was taken to Dominica.
He also claimed that Choksi was kept there and then on Monday he was taken to the police station but the news of his was broken only on Wednesday and there are marks on his body of the force.
His remarks came after Choksi, who is wanted by the CBI and the ED in connection with the over Rs 13,500 crore PNB loan fraud case, has reportedly been taken into custody in Dominica.
Choksi was reported missing on Sunday from Antigua and Barbuda, where he had taken citizenship, sparking a manhunt for the fugitive businessman.
Agarwal told IANS, “Lawyers for Antigua and Dominica have been trying to have legal interview with Choksi as per his constitutional rights in Dominica but they were denied any access to him. After great effort, they have been able to speak to him for two minutes.”
The advocate said, “Choksi has narrated his horrifying experience which is an eye-opener and vindicates my stand that he would not have gone from Antigua voluntarily. Choksi has said that he was forced to get into a vessel from Jolly Harbor in Antigua and he was taken to Dominica.”
Agarwal also said that Choksi was kept there, and then on Monday he was taken to the police station. Since then he’s been there and this news to the world was broken only on Wednesday.
He claimed that there are marks on Choksi’s body of the force.
“There is something fishing and I guess it was a strategy to take him to another so that there are chances of sending him back to India. So I don’t know what forces are operating. The time will tell,” he said.
Agarwal also said that legal team has filed habeas corpus petition in Dominica for Choksi and have also highlighted deprivation of access to him and deprivation of constitutional rights to legal assistance.
On Wednesday, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said that the fugitive diamantaire “needs to return to India” where he can face the criminal charges levelled against him.
Antigua News Room, a media outlet, quoted Browne as telling journalists in Antigua and Barbuda: “We asked them not to repatriate him to Antigua. He needs to return to India where he can face the criminal charges levelled against him.”
The Antigua Observer also said that Browne has reportedly told the media in India that he has asked Dominican government to detain Choksi for entering their country illegally. “Browne has asked that officials in Dominica make Choksi persona non grata and have him deported directly to India,” the Antigua Observer reported.
Choksi, an accused in the over Rs 13,500 crore PNB fraud case along with his nephew Nirav Modi, has been residing in Antigua and Berbuda since January 4, 2018.
The CBI and ED, which have filed separate chargesheets in the case, are trying for the extradition of Choksi.