New Delhi: In order to handle pressure from India in the Mehul Choksi extradition case, the fugitive diamantaire’s legal team is planning to extend the hearing and making it a human rights issue.
As per an English news channel, Choksi is planning to delay his legal hearing in Dominica until the Indian investigation teams depart from the Caribbean island nation.
This has also been proven right as the Dominica Magistrate Court on Monday (June 14, 2021) adjourned till June 25 the hearing into the alleged illegal entry of Choksi into the nation.
On Monday, a Magistrate Court in Roseau was to begin hearing the case of Choksi’s illegal entry into the country on May 23 but he was a no show. His lawyers informed the court that he was suffering from ‘mental stress’ and experienced high blood pressure. They presented a medical certificate signed by a doctor from the Dominica China Friendship Hospital where Choksi has been undergoing treatment for over 14 days.
The judge, however, ordered for the 62-year-old to be brought to court on June 17 for further remand and he will remain under police guard as a patient at the hospital until the next date of the trial.
On the other hand, the English news channel has also claimed that Choksi’s lawyers have suggested an all-out media strategy to his family and their strategy also includes filing cases in the United Kingdom. The legal team of fugitive diamantaire has already approached the Metropolitan Police in London under the ‘universal jurisdiction’ provision to investigate the alleged kidnapping of the absconding businessman from Antigua and Barbuda to neighbouring Dominica.
Choksi’s lawyer Michael Polak had earlier said that his client was unlawfully removed from Antigua and Barbuda and that as a citizen, he enjoys the right to approach the British Privy Council in case of extradition.
“In Antigua, he has the right to appeal to the Privy Council in London to determine whether the government is acting properly…against him. In Dominica, he does not have such protection. The motive behind the kidnapping could not be clearer,” Polak said.
A complaint filed by Polak with the UK Metropolitan Police contended that Choksi’s case should be investigated by the War Crimes Unit as it involves “torture”.
Meanwhile, India in an affidavit filled in Dominica Court said that Mehul Choksi is ‘still’ an Indian citizen. The affidavit detailed how his ‘declaration of renunciation’ of the Indian citizenship was not accepted by the Government of India and ‘citizenship of Mehul Choksi may be decided as Indian’.
This is to be noted that Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on May 23 after going out for dinner and was soon caught in Dominica. He was charged with illegal entry by the police in Dominica after he allegedly escaped from Antigua and Barbuda in a possible attempt to evade extradition to India.
The 62-year-old fugitive is wanted in India in connection with a Rs 13,500-crore fraud in the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
(With inputs from agencies)