Mehul Choksi case: India files affidavits in Dominica
The Indian government has filed two affidavits in the Dominica high court establishing Mehul Choksi’s Indian citizenship and the serious nature of the fraud he committed on Punjab National Bank (PNB), people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. HT first reported on May 30 that this would be the line India’s arguments in Dominica would take.
The affidavits were filed by Sharda Raut, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) deputy inspector general handling the PNB fraud investigation, and Azad Singh, consular officer at the high commission of India to the Commonwealth of Dominica, on Thursday, a day before Choksi’s bail plea was to be heard in the high court.
The people cited in the first instance said Raut and Singh’s affidavits provide detailed evidence against Choksi pertaining to criminal conspiracy, cheating and money laundering and the reasons why he needs to face investigations in India.
The affidavits also explain that Choksi’s surrender of Indian citizenship was never approved by the authorities and he was an Indian citizen when the crime was committed.
Choksi’s lawyers have sought to examine India’s affidavits.
Indian government officials are confident that Choksi will be sent to India as he entered Dominica illegally and is making up stories of abduction, and the involvement of random persons and woman to delay the whole process.
In the coming days, Indian officers will argue in the court in Dominica that Choksi’s Antiguan citizenship is disputed after the Antiguan government initiated the process to revoke the same in 2019, and that he should therefore be sent to India.
Dominica hasn’t officially commented on Choksi’s deportation to India yet but its actions have shown that the island nation is inclined to send him to New Delhi for face charges.
For example, while issuing a statement earlier this week, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the Republic of Dominica referred to Choksi as an Indian citizen.
Subsequently, in multiple affidavits filed by it in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) as well as magistrate’s court in Roseau, Dominica, police has claimed that Choksi is wanted for 11 charges in India and the only document found on him confirmed that he was born in India.
Choksi has alleged that he was abducted from Antigua by the Indian and Antiguan police officers along with his female friend, Barbara Jarabik (who was part of the plot according to his version of events) on May 23. He said he was then taken to Dominica in a vessel, in charges denied by Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
His habeas corpus plea in ECSC, which talks about alleged torture and seeks repatriation back to Antigua, where he is a citizen, has been adjourned sine die. His bail was being heard in the high court at the time of filing of this report.