An Indian private jet, Bombardier Global 5000 jet of Qatar Executive, landed at the Douglas-Charles Airport in Dominica for the repatriation of fugitive Mehul Choksi. He was apprehended by the Dominica Police on Wednesday after he reportedly went on missing on Sunday evening.
The fugitive diamond merchant faces charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and dishonesty, corruption and money laundering in the PNB scam. He is facing criminal proceedings by both the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED). The CBI first named Choksi and his firms including Gitanjali Gems along with others in 2018 based on a complaint received by the PNB for alleged issuance of fraudulent Letters of Undertaking in their favor causing losses to the bank. The ED had filed a complaint alleging that Choksi and others were involved in money-laundering the proceeds of crime in overseas accounts. He has been booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne, as per reports, had said he will not accept Choksi back in his country and he wants him to be repatriated straight to India where he is wanted. However, India does not have a repatriation agreement with Dominica and hence, whether he will be deported to India will depend on the government’s decision. Lincoln Corbette, Dominica’s acting police chief, had said Choksi would be deported to Antigua and not to India.
Browne told the Antigua media that the Indian government has sent certain documents from courts in India to confirm that he is indeed a fugitive. “My understanding is that the documents will be utilized in the court case as you know the judge in Dominica has put a stay on deportation till Wednesday. So the Indian government seems to be going all out to make sure that he is repatriated to India to stand trial.”
Reports say that Choki’s team of lawyers, consisting of Wayne Norde, Wayne Marsh, Cara Shillingford-Marsh and Jullian Prevost, have claimed that their client was abducted from the Jolly Harbour area of Antigua. A couple of Indians were involved along with a few Antiguans. They said a yacht of about 60-70ft long bearing a Dominican flag, carried Choksi to Toucary, a remote beach village in Dominica.