Mehul Choksi's 'Health Deteriorating', Says Lawyer; Dominica Court Remands Him to State Prison
Photo of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi on a wheelchair.
A magistrate court in Dominica on Thursday sent businessman Mehul Choksi to a state prison, his lawyer in India said, but added that he would continue to remain in hospital as his medical condition “deteriorated”. The diamond trader was earlier in police custody.
“Yes, police custody has been changed to prison custody but he shall remain in hospital as his medical condition has deteriorated,” lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said. The development is being seen as a ray of hope for India which has approached the Dominica High Court seeking to be impleaded as a party in the case filed by lawyers of Choksi whose bail plea was earlier rejected.
The Dominica Magistrate Court had adjourned till June 25 the hearing into his alleged illegal entry into the Caribbean island nation.
His legal team has submitted a medical certificate from the doctors of Dominica China Friendship Hospital, where Choksi is being held, stating that he is suffers from “mental stress” and elevated blood pressure. Chief Magistrate Carette-George had ordered that Choksi, wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore scam in the Punjab National Bank, be kept under police watch at the hospital. He had also asked authorities to present Choksi before the court on June 17 for further remand.
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.
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, where he was staying since 2018 as a citizen since he fled Delhi.
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.
(With PTI inputs)