A Dominican court on June 3 denied bail to fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi for his illegal entry into the country.
Choksi’s lawyer, who had argued in the magistrate court that his client be granted bail on health grounds, told the press that they will approach the upper court now. The matter has been adjourned till June 14.
The diamantaire will stay in the hospital under police security.
The case comes as Choksi mysteriously went missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda. He was later detained in the neighbouring Dominica where he allegedly entered illegally.
Choksi has pleaded not guilty saying that he was abducted and forcibly brought to Dominica from neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda.
According to his lawyers, the 62-year businessman was befriended by a woman over the last six months who called him to an apartment in Antigua on May 23 and abducted him from there. He was then allegedly beaten up and forced into a yacht before being ferried to Dominica.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB) of almost Rs 13,600 crore. The duo escaped India in January 2018, days before the PNB scam came to light.
Choksi became a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda using the Citizenship by Investment programme before fleeing India.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is hearing Choksi’s petition against deportation to India as his lawyers claim he is not a citizen of India.
According to Article 9 of the Indian Constitution, any person who acquires citizenship of a foreign country will automatically cease to be a citizen of India.
On June 2, the ECSC directed that Choksi should be produced before the magistrate in connection with the case pertaining to his illegal entry into the Caribbean island nation.
Meanwhile, the Dominican Public Prosecution Service has been arguing that Choksi should be deported to India as his plea is not maintainable.
The Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has assured India that they are committed to sending fugitive diamantaire Choksi back to India.
(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)