Choksi's 'romantic trip' with girlfriend reportedly landed him in jail
Mehul Choksi - the fugitive Indian diamantaire - had probably planned a "romantic getaway" with his girlfriend before that plan turned awry and he was arrested in Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister said citing reports. Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister, maintains Choksi should now be directly deported to India instead of continuing to enjoy citizenship rights in the Caribbean.
'Choksi made a mistake'
"Mehul Choksi made a mistake and the information we are getting is that Choksi traveled with his girlfriend but he was caught in Dominica and now he can be deported back to India," Browne was quoted as saying in media reports.
Choksi was reported missing in Antigua on May 23
Choksi was reported missing in Antigua on May 23. At that time, it was believed his family was also unaware of his whereabouts. Antigua's Police then issued a lookout notice against him and launched a search operation, after which he was caught in Dominica while allegedly trying to flee to Cuba. Notably, Choksi currently holds the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda.
Choksi was abducted and tortured, his lawyers say
However, Choksi's lawyers have been claiming he did not plan to leave Antigua, adding he was abducted and subsequently tortured by some people posing as cops. In fact, over the weekend, a purported picture of Choksi surfaced in the Caribbean and the Indian media. In that picture, Choksi was standing behind bars with visibly swollen, red eyes and bruises on his arms.
Dominican court to hear the case on June 2
Earlier, the Dominican High Court hearing this case had stayed Choksi's deportation after his lawyers filed a petition there. Now, the allegations of kidnapping and illegal arrest of Choksi will be taken up by that court on June 2 at 9 am local time.
Choksi has since been admitted to a hospital
Media reports say India is using diplomatic channels to try and bring Choksi back directly from Dominica. Meanwhile, on Sunday, Choksi was admitted to a hospital in Dominica. While he has tested negative for the coronavirus, the exact cause of hospitalization has not been revealed yet. Choksi's lawyers have confirmed the news of his hospitalization to The Times of India.
What are the legal cases against Choksi?
Choksi is accused of siphoning off close to Rs. 7,080 crore in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam and is wanted by top probe agencies in India on charges of fraud and money laundering. He was also allegedly involved in stock market manipulation in 2013. In Antigua too, he is facing two cases - extradition and revocation of his citizenship.