Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi
Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi

Despite strong case, Choksi escapes deportation to India; weak laws or vested interest behind lapse?

ANI | Updated: Jun 05, 2021 15:17 IST

New Delhi [India], June 5 (ANI): Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi has thwarted the prospect of immediate deportation to India with reports suggesting that his team of lawyers connived with opposition leaders to pressurize the judiciary in accepting their version.
Choksi, accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam, has got interim relief from immediate repatriation to India.
Despite it being an open-and-shut case, the Dominican court adjourned the matter of his detention on Thursday. As the next date of hearing is yet to be fixed and the court proceedings are likely to take time.
According to local media reports, his team of lawyers connived with opposition leaders to pressure the judiciary, which rather than questioning Choksi's illegal entry from Antigua to Dominica, believed his lawyers' version that he was abducted.
However, evidence suggests that Choksi was planning to escape to Cuba.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. Choksi fled the country. He was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in January 2018. He is involved in a legal battle to prevent his extradition to India.
Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on May 23 after going out for dinner and was soon caught in Dominica after Antigua police launched a manhunt for him last month.
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.

In order to save Choksi from deportation, a team of four lawyers hired from London. Choksi's cousin is camping in Dominica and has reportedly cut the deal with opposition to save Mehul, according to local reports.
Mehul Choksi's younger brother Chetan Chinu Bhai promised Dominican opposition leader election funding for pushing the abduction theory, local reports stated, adding that the businessman's cousin disclosed details.
Despite a number of facts going against Choksi, the Dominican court did not deport him, and his case was adjourned, no date is fixed yet for the next hearing
Choksi is an Indian citizen that is also mentioned in the red corner notice. In Antigua where he was residing, he misrepresented the facts and got citizenship.
Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne wanted his citizenship to be cancelled, he wrote a letter in 2019, he has clearly said that Choksi will not be allowed entry in Antigua and he should be deported back to India
Many experts say that vested interest here and weak laws are the reason that economic offender goes scot-free.
Choksi committed a crime in India and concealed facts to attain citizenship of Antigua, senior lawyer Supreme court lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay says Economic fugitives like Choksi have been using the cover of weak Indian laws, during the last UPA regime they use to commit economic crimes and stayed in the country, when BJP led government came to power they fled he said
Upadhyay said: "Whether is fugitive Choksi, Mallya, Lalit or Nirav, it's difficult to catch them under existing Indian laws because they are weak and as a result, such offenders are born here, they are not born in France, Singapore, US, Germany, China and other countries, if they were born in France, German and they committed such crime they would have got a death sentence and all their property would be sealed."
"When Congress government was in power such offenders committed a crime here and were playing golf, the government changed, they thought will be caught and they fled, there is an urgent need to reform law, 1807 Indian panel code, ever since freedom, not a single fugitive's 100 per cent property is seized, not even single offender got life imprisonment or death sentence, we must initiate judicial reforms, otherwise even if Choksi is brought back, he will take refuge in weak laws, after all, none of scamsters got punishment whether it is 2G, commonwealth or any other scam," he added. (ANI)