Mehul Choksi appeared before the magistrate on a wheel chair. He was wearing a blue T-shirt.
Mehul Choksi. (File Photo)
Following the order of the High Court of Dominica, on Wednesday, diamond merchant Mehul Choksi was presented in a magistrate’s court to answer the allegations of illegally entering the country. Local media reported this news. Choksi appeared before the magistrate on a wheel chair. He was wearing a blue T-shirt. Earlier, Dominica High Court Judge Bernie Stephenson had ordered Choksi’s habeas corpus petition to be produced before a magistrate court after hearing him for nearly three hours. Choksi had claimed that he was abducted from Antigua and Barbuda and forcibly brought to the Caribbean island nation.
According to Dominica News Online, the High Court adjourned the hearing on the habeas corpus petition till Thursday. Rejecting Choksi’s arguments, the prosecution in the High Court said that the habeas corpus petition was not maintainable as the accused entered the country illegally and was later taken into custody. Choksi is wanted in India in the Punjab National Bank fraud case worth Rs 13,500 crore. His lawyer alleged that his client was kidnapped from Antigua’s Jolly Harbor and taken to Dominica by a ferry about 100 nautical miles away. Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said, “We believe that Mehul Choksi is in illegal custody as he was to be produced before the magistrate within 72 hours, which was not done, confirming his stand. As part of its treatment, he has been asked to produce him before the magistrate. This confirms the illegal detention of Mehul Choksi as argued by the defence.
‘There was no discussion about the Government of India’
He said that the matter being heard is a habeas corpus petition and not a matter of extradition to India. The subject of his citizenship is not before the court. Contrary to various media reports, there was no discussion about the Government of India. Judge Bernie Stephenson heard the case via video conference. Choksi went missing on May 23 mysteriously from Antigua where he had been living as a civilian since 2018. He was detained for illegally entering neighboring Dominica. He had eloped with his girlfriend, possibly in an alleged romantic way. There is a big rumor about his girlfriend.
Who is the lady seen with Choksi?
By the way, Choksi’s wife Preeti said that the woman being discussed is not his (her husband’s) girlfriend. According to Preeti, the woman was an acquaintance of Choksi and she used to go for a walk with him. He said that Choksi was kidnapped by Indian-looking people and people of Antigua when he had gone to meet the woman. On Wednesday, Choksi attended the hearing from the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital where he was admitted recently.
‘Client not feeling safe in police custody’
The judge asked the administration to make available the court documents to Choksi. Choksi’s lawyer said that his client was not feeling safe in police custody and should be sent back to Antigua and Barbuda. He also said that he would pay for his safety. Choksi’s lawyers also raised the issue of injury marks on his client’s body and his hospitalization. In the event of an adverse order, Choksi will have the option of appealing to a higher court. A team of officials from various agencies, led by a Deputy Inspector General of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has gone to Dominica to bring Choksi to India.
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