The government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have sought to join the diamond Mehul Choksi case in the Dominican High Court, sources said today.
While the CBI will focus on the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) will discuss Choksi’s citizenship status, the sources add.
The IWC has filed a request for ‘implementation’ in the Caribbean nation’s court in Choksi’s 62-year-old habeas corpus declaration.
The agency seeks to present the details of the PNB case against the jeweler in the higher court to establish that he is a fugitive, sources say.
Based on the arrest warrants issued against Choksi by Indian courts for skipping the subpoena, CBI has submitted, “Choksi a fugitive” is evading justice in the 13.5 billion rupee GNP scam case.
India, through the MEA, has submitted a separate application to join the proceedings in the High Court of Dominica.
Choksi is still an Indian citizen and has not surrendered his passport, the sources said in his application, the sources said, adding that he has not completed his citizenship renouncement process.
Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit also called Choksi an “Indian citizen” just a few days ago.
If CBI and MEA allegations are allowed, former Attorney General Harish Salve will represent both CBI and MEA in the Superior Court of Dominica.
The higher court postponed Choksi’s habeas corpus petition to July and extended his expulsion order from Dominica until the completion of the proceedings.
In another case presented by Choksi in which he requested bail for entering the territory illegally, the Dominican High Court upheld the magistrate’s order denying him bail as a “flight risk”.
Mehul Choksi had fled to Antigua in 2018, after purchasing a citizenship from that country, as investigations by the CBI and the Directorate of Enforcement into the PNB case were accelerating.
He was reportedly caught trying to escape from Antigua to Cuba via Dominica last month. He disappeared on May 25, prompting a manhunt by Antigua police, and was captured on May 27 in Dominica.
After his arrest in Dominica, Antigua said that Mehul Choksi should be delivered directly to India.
However, Choksi’s lawyer has said that his client is no longer an Indian citizen and can only be sent back to Antigua, where he is already fighting cases related to his citizenship and extradition.
His nephew Nirav Modi is currently in jail in London and is contesting his extradition to India.