NEW DELHI: Fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi’s lawyers filed a habeas corpus petition in Dominica, where he has been detained after they were allegedly not given access to him, his legal counsel Vijay Aggarwal said.
“The legal team has filed a habeas corpus petition in Dominica for Mehul Choksi and have also highlighted deprivation of access to Mehul Choksi and deprivation of constitutional rights to legal assistance,” he told PTI.
Mehul Choksi can’t be detained to India: Lawyer
Earlier, his lawyer had said that he can only be deported to Antigua, not to India. Legally, according to Section 17 and 23 of the Immigration and Passport Act, Mehul Choksi can only be deported to Antigua, the fugitive diamantaire’s lawyer said on Thursday.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, Counsel for Mehul Choksi, while speaking to ANI about the fugitive businessman’s deportation directly to India, revealed it cannot be done.
In an official release, Advocate Aggarwal said, “As per the Indian Citizenship Act, Section 9, the moment Mehul Choksi acquired the citizenship of Antigua, he ceased to be a Citizen of India. Hence, legally, as per Immigration and Passport Act Section 17 and 23, he can be deported only to Antigua.”
Lawyer see marks on Choksi’s body, swollen eyes and fear for life
His lawyer in Dominica, Wayne Marsh, had told a radio show that in a brief interaction with Choksi, allowed by authorities after a lot of efforts, the diamantaire had claimed that he was picked up at Jolly Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda by men looking like Indian and Antiguan policemen and was put in a vessel.
Marsh had said he saw marks on the body of Choksi who had swollen eyes and feared for his life. He said Choksi is a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda and not India hence he should be sent back.
Aggarwal called the entire episode of his mysterious disappearance and detention in Dominica “fishy”.
“Lawyers for Choksi in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica have been trying to have a legal interview with him as per his constitutional rights but they were denied access to him. After great effort they were able to speak to Choksi for two minutes during which he narrated a horrifying experience which is an eye-opener and vindicates my stand that he would not have gone from Antigua voluntarily,” Aggarwal said.
He said that after being taken from Antigua, Choksi was kept somewhere and then on Monday he was taken to a police station. Since then he has been there and this news to the world was broken only on Wednesday, and there were marks on his body, Aggarwal said.
“There is something fishy and I guess it was a strategy to take him to another country so that there are chances of sending him back to India. So I don’t know what forces are operating. Only the time will tell,” he said.
Who is Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi?
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted for allegedly siphoning off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), using letters of undertaking.
While Modi is in a London prison after repeated denial of bail and is contesting extradition to India, Choksi had taken the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 using the Citizenship by Investment programme, before fleeing India in the first week of January 2018. The scam came to light subsequently. Both are facing a CBI probe.
(With PTI & ANI inputs)