‘He is a flight risk’: Dominica High Court denies bail to Mehul Choksi

62-year-old fugitive is wanted in India in connection with Rs 13,500 crore fraud in Punjab National Bank

‘He is a flight risk’: Dominica High Court denies bail to Mehul Choksi

Fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi. PTI file

New Delhi, June 12

The Dominica High Court has denied bail to fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi in the case of illegal entry into the island country after his mysterious disappearance from neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda where he is staying as a citizen since 2018, local Caribbean media reported.

The High Court on Friday (local time) gave the ruling by concluding that Choksi was a “flight risk”, did not have any ties with Dominica and the court could not impose any conditions which will stop him from leaving the country, news outlet AntiguaNewsroom said.

Choksi’s lawyer said he couldn’t be sent back to India while his trial still continued in Dominica.

“Till his trial is going on in Dominica, he (Mehul Choksi) can’t be sent back to India. We’ve been given the liberty to reapply for bail after we show our roots in Dominican society. There is no res judicata in bail,” said Mehul Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal.

Read also: Choksi is international fugitive who continues to evade Indian law, CBI tells Dominica Court

The 62-year-old Choksi had approached the high court after the magistrate had rejected his bail petition.

The promoter of Geetanjali Gems and other famous diamond brands in India had fled the country weeks before Rs 13,500 crore fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB) allegedly involving him and his nephew Nirav Modi surfaced.

Choksi, 62, who has an Interpol Red Notice against him, had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen after fleeing from India.

He was detained in the neighbouring island country of Dominica for illegal entry after a possible romantic escapade with his rumoured girlfriend.

Choksi’s lawyers alleged that he was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian and brought to Dominica on a boat.

He was also brought before a Roseau magistrate, on the orders of High Court Judge Bernie Stephenson, hearing Habeas Corpus matter, to answer charges of illegal entry where he pleaded not guilty but was denied bail. — Agencies

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