Due to poor health, Choksi unlikely to return to Dominica to answer illegal entry charges

Choksi being taken in a wheelchair to a Magistrate’s Court in Dominica (file photo)
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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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A Dominican court may be waiting in vain for Indian fugitive Mehul Choksi’s return to answer charges for his alleged illegal entry into the country last May.

Choksi, who was reportedly kidnapped and taken to Dominica on May 23, 2021, was granted bail in July by a Dominica High Court to allow him to travel to Antigua and Barbuda for treatment of his neurological condition.

The court has also stayed the ongoing trial before a magistrate for his alleged illegal entry until his return.

But his wife, Priti Choksi, claimed that returning to Dominica may never happen, since her diamantaire husband’s health has deteriorated since the ordeal.

“They said that he can’t go back until he is 100 percent fit and, as you can imagine, a 63-year-old man being 100 percent fit –I don’t know what they mean by this. The bail condition says he has to be completely fit…” she said.

Priti said her husband is not against going back to answer the charges against him in the neighbouring island, but he may never be able to do so.

“I wonder whether they would even accept him based on his health condition,” she questioned.

Choksi, who became a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda through the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), has been living in Antigua since 2018 after he left India, where he is wanted on allegations he committed a multi-billion dollar scam in the Punjab National Bank.

His lawyers had alleged that he was abducted from Antigua and Barbuda in an elaborate plot hatched by men of Indian origin and a mystery woman named Barbara Jabarica who had befriended him during last six months.

He said during the process he was severely beaten by several high-profile gangsters who he said were operatives of the government of India.

After news of Choksi being held in Dominica surfaced, his lawyers moved with unprecedented agility to file a Habeas Corpus petition before the Dominica High Court which was admitted for hearing.

Their swift legal manoeuvres, coupled with an investigation into the circumstances of his disappearance from Antigua, allegedly foiled attempts by India to get Choksi deported from Dominica.

Meanwhile, Priti said her husband, who filed a complaint of kidnapping at the St John’s Police Station, has yet to receive any concrete information about the investigations.

“They have been telling us they are investigating. They have been saying this for some time. I guess we have to believe in the police and listen to what they say; we can’t preempt them,” Priti told Observer.

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