The Indian government is actively engaged with Dominica to seek early deportation of fugitive diamond merchant Mehul Choksi and his handover to India, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. A Dominican magistrate court adjourned till June 25 the hearing into alleged illegal entry of Choki into the Caribbean island nation, local media there had reported earlier this week.
Asked about Choksi at an online media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said he continues to be in the custody of authorities in the commonwealth of Dominica and legal proceedings are underway. "Government of India is actively engaged with the Dominican government to seek the early deportation and handover to India of Mehul Choksi to face justice in our country," he said. "The criminal charges that Mehul Choksi faces in India and the facts relating to his continued Indian citizenship have been suitably brought to the attention of the authorities in the commonwealth of Dominica," the MEA spokesperson said. On Monday, the magistrate court was to start hearing the case of Choksi's "illegal entry" into the country on May 23 but he was a "no show", a media website Natureislenews had reported.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi had fled India in the first week of January, 2018, weeks before the scam in the Punjab National Bank rocked the Indian banking industry. Nirav Modi escaped to Europe and was finally held in London where he is contesting his extradition to India, while Choksi took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 where he was staying since his escape from Delhi.
Choksi, 62, had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda. He was detained in neighbouring island country Dominica on May 23 for illegal entry after a possible romantic escapade with his rumoured girlfriend. His lawyers alleged that he was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen looking like Antiguans and Indians and brought to Dominica on a boat.