India has clearly told the Caribbean island nation of Dominica that fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi is a wanted criminal and should be handed over to the Indian authorities.
Choksi was on Monday admitted to the Dominica China Friendship Hospital in the capital city Roseau and is reported to have tested negative for Covid-19, according to local media reports. He has used his slush money to hire a battery of lawyers to fight a legal case against being deported.
The Indian government has stepped up efforts to get Choksi extradited and has informed Dominica that Choksi is originally an Indian citizen and had taken on a new citizenship as a front to escape the law of the land after cheating the Punjab National Bank of close to $2 billion.
According to sources, India has informed Dominica that Mehul Choksi should be treated as a fugitive Indian citizen and the Interpol Red Corner notice for him has been issued on the basis of a request from New Delhi.
Neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Sunday also requested Dominica to deport Choksi directly to India.
Choksi enjoys full legal protection in Antigua as a citizen and it will be time consuming to extradite Choksi to India from the country. Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne has told ANI in an interview that Choksi will not be allowed to return to Antigua from where he fled to Dominica last week.
According to local media reports the Choksi family has managed to cultivate some political leaders in Dominica with the offer of financing their parties if they enabled him to stay back in the country.
He has hired a team of lawyers to defend his case against extradition in a Dominican court and the next hearing is scheduled for June 2. The High Court will also hear the Indian fugitive's habeas corpus plea on that date.
Choksi’s lawyers have made out a case that he was abducted by the Antigua police. However, the Antigua police have denied the charge.
Choksi had gone missing in Antigua and Barbuda last week, and was traced and arrested in Dominica on May 26. He had fled to Antigua and Barbuda in January 2018 after cheating the Punjab National Bank of a whopping Rs 14,000 crore and invested the proceeds of crime in the Caribbean island to become eligible for a local citizenship. His nephew Nirav Modi is the other main accused in the fraud case.