Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi was “forcefully picked up by various people" from Antigua’s Jolly Harbour and taken Dominica, where he may have been “tortured", alleged his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal on Thursday, claiming the the 62-year-old businessman has wounds on his body.
“I have been told that there are marks of torture on the body. Now, we are trying our very best in Dominica for legal recourse so that he is sent back to Antigua," Aggarwal was quoted as saying by ANI.
The lawyer further alleged that Choksi was forcefully picked from Antigua and then taken to Dominica. “…He (Choksi) has narrated that he was picked up by various people from jolly harbour in Antigua. And then he was taken to Dominica. And he was there on Sunday and then he was taken to the police station on Monday."
Choksi, who had recently fled from Antigua and Barbuda, was captured in neighbouring Dominica after an Interpol Yellow Notice was issued against him, Antiguan media reported on Wednesday.
The lawyer said that he thinks the diamantaire’s arrest is ‘fishy’ at the moment, and no one is looking into how exactly Choksi reached Dominica.
It has to be done legally, Choksi’s lawyer said further, adding that this was not a game of chess. “We are dealing with a human being. Not a pawn that can be placed here or there and it cannot be on somebody’s desires and whims. Further, as per the universal declaration of human rights there are international covenants on voluntary repatriation and a person can be deported to only the country of their citizenship," added his lawyer.
After news of Choksi’s arrest in Dominica came on Tuesday night (local time), Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told media that he has given “clear instructions" to the Dominican authorities to repatriate Choksi to India. “We asked them not to repatriate him to Antigua. He needs to return to India where he can face the criminal charges levelled against him," Antigua News Room, a media outlet, quoted Browne’s interaction with journalists in Antigua and Barbuda.
Choksi is wanted in a Rs 13,500-crore loan fraud in the Punjab National Bank. He was last seen going for dinner in his car in Antigua and Barbuda on Sunday. His staff had reported him missing.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi allegedly siphoned off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) using fraudulent letters of undertaking. Nirav Modi, lodged in a London jail, is contesting his extradition to India after repeated denial of his bail by courts.