Mehul Choksi could easily land in Indian jail

Source :Sify
Author :Finance Desk
Last Updated: Wed, Jun 2nd, 2021, 16:33:33hrs
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New Delhi: Mehul Choksi, among prime accused in the Rs 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case, could soon land in an Indian jail. That, if former CBI director AP Singh is to be believed.

Singh, in a news report, said, the Republic of Dominica may allow Choksi to be deported to India rather than let the case be decided through a time-consuming extradition process.

Singh said "It is possible for Dominica to deport Mehul Choksi to India as he has no legal rights in Dominica. But he alleged before the court that he was kidnapped and brought to a third country (Dominica) against his will. Now the court will decide his deportation."

According to him the deportation is an easier process than extradition.

"If a criminal or a wanted fugitive is living in a country where they have legal status as a citizen, only an extradition process is left... For deportation, if someone enters a third country illegally and is caught, the country concerned must deport to India. The CBI has many deportation experiences under Interpol's Red Corner notices," the ex-CBI director told ANI.

He also said it was not necessary to enter into a treaty with a country for deportation or extradition of criminals/fugitives, stating that there has been many deportations from a third-party country based on Interpol's Red Corner notices.

Mehul Choksi had allegedly attempted escaping Antigua, where he had been living since 2018. Interpol had issued the Red Notice against Choksi in December 2018. 

According to Choksi's lawyers, the jeweller had not fled Antigua but was forcibly abducted and allegedly beaten up and taken to Dominica. According to former CBI director Singh, "If the Dominica court finds that Choksi was kidnapped and forcibly taken to Dominica, he would be deported to Antigua as his country of origin."

Antigua News Room, a news agency, cited sources close to Mehul Choksi as saying that he was tortured.

Choksi, is a key accused in the Rs 13,000 crore Punjab and National Bank (PNB) loan fraud case and is wanted in India on bank fraud charges, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and money laundering. He acquired Antigua and Barbuda citizenship through the Citizenship by Investment Program in 2017 and had been living in Antigua since 2018. The jeweller is opposing court action to revoke his Antiguan citizenship and have him extradited to India

Choksi's lawyers have approached Dominica's Supreme Court in the case pertaining to deporting him to India. The court has put a stay on his movement out of Dominica and is set to hear the matter today, June 2.

India has to present a tough case for against Mehul Choksi in the Dominica Court. India to present relevant papers and evidence in court as per the practices of the agencies.

Former CBI director Singh, when asked if a team from India has sent Dominica for a court hearing, he cited reports in local media. "I have seen in the media that India has sent a team of officials who will present the case papers and evidence in the court. They will have to present the documents in the court through a lawyer and the local embassy will assist them, as per protocol," Singh said.

Meanwhile, Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne had earlier also told the news-agency that Dominica has agreed Choksi's repatriation and Antigua will not accept him back.

With inputs from ANI

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