Mehul Choksi, the fugitive jeweler wanted in India for allegedly defrauding ₹ 13,500 crore from the National Bank of Punjab, was denied bail by the Dominican high court on the grounds that he is at risk of flight, ANI news agency reported on Saturday quoting local media.
The judge noted that Mehul Choksi has no ties to Dominica and that the court cannot impose any conditions that will assure him that he will not abscond, Antigua Newsroom reported.
The court’s verdict comes a few days after Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit called Choksi an “Indian citizen” and declared that the courts will decide what happens to the fugitive. He added that the government will protect Choksi’s rights while he awaits trial.
“The matter with this Indian citizen is before the courts, the courts will decide what will happen to this gentleman and we will allow the judicial process to pass,” Loop Jamaica News quoted the Prime Minister of Dominica as saying.
Mehul Choksi was captured while allegedly trying to escape to Cuba from Antigua, where he had been living since 2018 after leaving India. He reportedly left Antigua and took a boat to neighboring Dominica. With an Interpol surveillance circular against him, he was captured by police on a beach in Dominica.
The diamond jeweler, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, is wanted by Indian investigating agencies for allegedly defrauding ₹ 13,500 crore as loans from the state-run National Bank of Punjab, using false documents. Nirav Modi, imprisoned in London, is challenging his extradition to India.