After fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi was detained in Dominica, India is exploring options to bring him back. India is more likely to use diplomatic channels for the cause.
The government says, “As Mehul Choksi is not in Antigua and he is not a citizen of Dominica, he can be directly deported to India based on the Red Corner Notice issued against him by Interpol. He is a wanted accused of India and deportation can be one of the options.”
India enjoys good ties with Dominica as India had recently sent one lakh free Covid vaccines to the tiny Caribbean island as a part of the ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative. Also, Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that the wanted businessman should be sent back to India directly.
“We asked them not to repatriate him to Antigua. He needs to return to India where he can face the criminal charges leveled against him,” said Mr. Browne.
“We will not accept him back. He made a monumental error by skipping the island,” he added.
However, Mehul Choksi’s lawyer argued that he is no longer a citizen of India and can only be sent back to Antigua. “Moreover, there is an Antiguan High Court order against the processing of any request from India, so my understanding is that he has to be sent back to Antigua only- there is no question of him being sent to India.”
The lawyer also claimed that Choksi may not have ‘voluntarily reached Dominica and there is ‘something fishy’ in the way he landed there.
Choksi has citizenship of the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, from where he went missing on Sunday. He was last seen going to dinner in his car after which his staff reported him missing. He had taken a water route to allegedly escape from Antigua.
The fugitive jeweler and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted by Indian investigation agencies for allegedly defrauding Rs. 13,500 crore as loans from State-run Punjab National Bank using fake documents.