Dominican Court Extends Stay On Indian Fugitive Mehul Choksi Extradition

Even if the Dominican court agrees to it, Mehul Choksi can be extradited only to his home country which is Antigua and Barbuda, not India.

Mehul Choksi was arrested while trying to flee to Cuba from Antigua and Barbuda.

New Delhi:

A Dominican court has extended till June 2 its order restraining the removal of Mehul Choksi from the country, which he has been charged with entering illegally. The High Court will also hear the Indian fugitive's habeas corpus plea on that date.

The court has directed that the 62-year-old businessman be taken to the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital for medical attention and for a Covid test.

Its order said, "The applicant be allowed to meet with his legal counsel as is required. The injunction restraining the respondents whether by themselves, servants, agents and/or representatives from removing the applicant from The Commonwealth of Dominica until...is continued until the further hearing of this matter."

A citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, Mr Choksi was captured in the Caribbean island nation, the Union Home Ministry had said on Thursday.

He was caught while allegedly trying to escape to Cuba from Antigua, where he had been living since leaving India in 2018. He reportedly left Antigua and took a boat to neighbouring Dominica. With an Interpol lookout circular against him, he was caught by the police from a beach in Dominica.

The diamond jeweler, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, is wanted in India for allegedly swindling Rs 13,500 crore from the state-run Punjab National Bank using fake documents. Mr Modi, jailed in London, is contesting his extradition to India.

His lawyers say that Mr Choksi can only be sent back to Antigua and Barbuda from the Dominican Republic, and not India.