Mehul Choksi, the diamantaire who is wanted in India in connection with Rs 13000 crore fraud cannot be removed from Antigua and Barbuda, the country’s High Court said Friday as it gave the ruling in his favour.
The claimant, Mehul Choksi in his civil lawsuit has argued that there is an obligation on the part of the defendants, the Attorney General of Antigua and the Chief of Police to carry out a thorough inquiry and that he has an arguable claim that he was subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Dominica based Nature Isle News reported.
Demanding an investigation into his claims, Choksi has sought relief which includes a declaration that suggests he is entitled to a prompt and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding his forcible removal from Antigua and Barbuda on or about May 23, 2021.
The court order has prohibited the removal of the Claimant, Mehul Choksi from Antigua and Barbuda’s territory without a High Court ruling following an inter party hearing and subject to the Claimant (Mehul Choksi) exhausting all available legal remedies, including appeals.
“Further or in the alternative, a Declaration that the first Defendant is to establish an independent, judicial inquiry as to the circumstances of the Claimant (Mehul Choksi)’s forcible abduction and removal from the jurisdiction of Antigua and Barbuda on or around 23 May 2021. A Declaration that the second Defendant has a duty to confirm to the Dominican police that the evidence supports that the Claimant was forcibly removed from the jurisdiction and taken to Dominica against his will,” the court order read.
“An Order that the Claimant may not be caused to leave and/or be removed from the jurisdiction of Antigua and Barbuda without an order from the High Court after an inter partes hearing and subject to the Claimant exhausting any appeals or other legal relief provided by law. An Order that the second Defendant releases the statement taken by its officers from the Claimant on 15 August 2021,” it read further.
The defendants, on the other hand, argued that there is no valid complaint that exposes a cause of action for any failure to carry out an “effective” and “rapid” investigation within the scope of the jurisdiction under section 7 of the Constitution.
According to Nature Isle News, the defendant also claimed that the claim was frivolous, vexatious, and an abuse of the court’s process.
Collusion, forced abduction, removal from Antigua and Barbuda, assault, and battery are among the incidents detailed in the Claimant Mehul Choksi’s affidavits in support of the claim. The Claimant was forcibly transported to the Commonwealth of Dominica aboard a boat, as per the report of Nature Isle News.
According to the claimant’s evidence, he asked to consult with his lawyers at the time he was approached by the individuals, but that request was denied.
The 63-year-old diamantaire is wanted in India in connection with a Rs 13,000-crore fraud in the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
CBI in its statement said that it remains committed to returning fugitives and criminals to India to face the process of criminal justice.
“Systematic steps have been initiated in close coordination with foreign law enforcement agencies for geo-locating and return of wanted criminals and economic offenders. In the last 15 months, over 30 wanted criminals have returned to India,” it read.
CBI said that a case was registered against Mehul Choksi and others on February 15, 2018, for defrauding Punjab National Bank.
Subsequently in 2022, CBI registered five more criminal cases against Mehul Choksi and others for defrauding banks and financial institutions.
In 2018, wanted criminal Mehul Chinubhai Choksi approached the Commission for Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF) making a request for the non-publication of a Red Notice.
“CCF is a separate body within INTERPOL that is not under the control of INTERPOL Secretariat and is mainly staffed by elected lawyers from different countries. CCF had studied his request and consulted CBI. CCF dismissed representation of Mehul Chinubhai Choksi and INTERPOL published a Red Notice,” CBI stated.
The agency said that INTERPOL had only published a Red notice against wanting to accuse Mehul Chinubhai Choksi in December 2018 at the request of CBI and ED.