A Dominican court on Friday extended the stay on fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi’s deportation from the Caribbean island country till June 2, NDTV reported.
The 62-year-old, wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in India in connection with the Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case, was captured in Dominica after he fled Antigua and Barbuda on Sunday. He has been charged with entering Dominica illegally.
Choksi had been living in Antigua, where he had secured a passport, after he left India in 2018, just weeks before the fraud came to light. Following Choksi’s detention late Wednesday night, Antigua refused to take him back and Prime Minister Gaston Browne had said the country was in talks with the Dominican as well as Indian governments for his repatriation to India.
The court on Friday ordered that the businessman be taken to the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital to get tested for Covid-19 and other medical care. “The applicant be allowed to meet with his legal counsel as is required,” the order said. “The injunction restraining the respondents whether by themselves, servants, agents and/or representatives from removing the applicant from The Commonwealth of Dominica until...is continued until the further hearing of this matter.”
The court order blocking his repatriation came after Choksi filed a habeas corpus plea, which will now be heard on June 2.
Choksi was allegedly trying to escape to Cuba from Antigua. The police in Dominica captured Choksi after an Interpol Yellow Notice was issued by 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.