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Prolong Hearing, Make It a Human Rights Issue: What Choksi’s Lawyers Suggested to Ease Up CBI-ED Pressure

File photo of Mehul Choksi. (PTI)

File photo of Mehul Choksi. (PTI)

His lawyers have also suggested an all-out media strategy to the family.

Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi is looking to prolong his legal hearing in Dominica for the possible departure of ED and CBI teams from the nation, top sources told CNN-News18.

Meanwhile, Choksi’s legal team has asked for more time from Dominican court, which is hearing his extradition case. Next date of hearing is on June 24.

Choksi’s legal team, which he changed entirely after losing the bail case, has suggested to prolong his legal hearing as much as possible, so that India’s teams from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) depart from there.

Them leaving Dominica would ease out pressure on the courts and will make it more difficult for local lawyers to argue the case based on facts, the sources said, providing inside details into Choksi’s legal strategy.

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His lawyers have also suggested an all-out media strategy to the family; who are approaching each media house and radio station for interviews of Priti Choksi, Mehul’s wife.

Priti, in her interviews, talks solely about the family’s business failure due to the expansion they had been planning, the sources said, adding that their lawyers also want to base the case on a human rights issues.

Part of their strategy includes filing cases in the United Kingdom alleging his abduction, to hide his real plan to Cuba and trying to evade heat from the Antigua government.

Top investigation sources from India told CNN-News18 that they were thankful to the Antigua and Dominica government for taking a stand, as Choksi had ran away with Rs. 13,000 crores worth of money from Indian banks.

The investigation sources added that they were optimistic of a ‘positive’ judgement coming out soon, adding that without his deportation the CBI and ED could not take the case forward.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi had fled India in the first week of January 2018, weeks before a multi-crore scam in the Punjab National Bank rocked the Indian banking industry. The duo allegedly bribed officials of the state-run bank to get Letters of Undertaking (LoU) based on which they availed loans from overseas banks that remained unpaid.

Choksi had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen after he fled Delhi.

He was detained in the neighbouring island country Dominica for illegal entry. His lawyers alleged that he was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen, who looked like Antiguan and Indian, and then brought to Dominica on a boat.

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first published:June 14, 2021, 17:32 IST