A court in the Caribbean island nation of Dominica has stayed the repatriation of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, the Hindustan Times reported on Friday, citing local reports. The decision came on a petition filed by Choksi’s lawyers, claiming he was denied legal rights and was not allowed to meet his counsels initially after his arrest.

The matter is scheduled to be heard again on Friday.

The development came after Choksi’s lawyer contended that it was not legally possible to repatriate him directly to India, ANI reported. His comments came after the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda said he was in talks with Dominican authorities to send Choksi back to India, following his arrest in Dominica.

Choksi, who had been staying in Antigua and Barbuda since 2018, is wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the over Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. He had been captured by the Dominican Police on late Wednesday night (Indian time), while allegedly trying to flee to Cuba.

“As per Indian Citizenship Act, the moment Mehul Choksi acquired citizenship of Antigua he ceased to be an Indian citizen,” the fugitive diamantaire’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal told ANI. “As per Immigration and Passport Act he can be deported only to Antigua.”

A statement issued by Dominica’s ministry of national security and home affairs also indicated that Choksi was likely to be sent back to Antigua and Barbuda, not India, reported The Indian Express. They said the diamantaire was held for “illegal entry” and that the Dominican authorities were gathering information about Choksi’s citizenship status.

“Once the information is provided by Antigua authorities, possible arrangements will be made for Mr Mehul Choksi to be repatriated to Antigua,” the statement noted.

Meanwhile, Choksi’s lawyer in Dominica, Wayne Marsh, has alleged that he was abducted by “an Indian and Antiguan” police officer on May 23 while on his way to a restaurant in Antigua for dinner, according to The Indian Express. Choksi claimed he was masked and put on a yacht bearing a Dominican flag and taken to the southern tip of the island nation where he was kept till he was arrested by the local police on May 26, Marsh said. He added that Choksi had “a swollen eye and several bruises”, when he met him.

“It is a breach of human and constitutional rights,” Marsh said, speaking to ANI. “He [Choksi] believes people are trying to ensure that he doesn’t speak to anyone including his family. I am the only one to have spoken to him since he was abducted from Antigua.”

Meanwhile, Aggarwal said that Choksi’s legal team has filed a habeas corpus petition in Dominica and have also highlighted deprivation of access and constitutional rights to him for legal assistance.

Choksi had fled India in January 2018, a few weeks before the bank fraud came to light. Choksi had told the Bombay High Court that he left India for a medical check-up and not because of the scam.

In August 2018, he claimed he had “lawfully applied” to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda to expand his business interests in the Caribbean. In January 2019, Choksi had surrendered his Indian citizenship and passport to authorities in Antigua and Barbuda.

The Punjab National Bank fraud came to light in February 2018 when the bank informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that it had detected “fraudulent and unauthorised transactions” worth Rs 11,380 crore at a branch in South Mumbai. A few officials of the public sector bank had allegedly issued fraudulent Letters of Undertaking to his nephew Nirav Modi’s companies. The bank later raised its estimate of the value of the fraud to over Rs 13,000 crore.

Last month, United Kingdom’s Home Minister Priti Patel had approved the extradition of Modi to India, where he will face trial. He was arrested on March 19, 2019, and has been lodged in London’s Wandsworth jail