The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing in the deportation case of fugitive entrepreneur Mehul Choksi, instructing two sides involved in the matter to resolve administrative problems, reported The Indian Express. Choksi’s lawyer, Vijay Aggarwal, said the case was expected to be taken up next on July 1.

The court said that both the sides had come to a consensus on filing documents, replies of parties, fixing time for arguing and the sequence of court proceedings.

“Till then [July], as per the existing Dominican court order, Mehul Choksi shall remain in Dominica, is what I understand,” Aggarwal told The Indian Express.

Judge Birnine Stephenson, who has been hearing the repatriation case, said the two sides had to reach an agreement, reported The Times of India. After this, a new date of hearing will be decided.

Choksi, 62, who is 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 caught in Dominica on May 26 after he fled Antigua and Barbuda. He was allegedly trying to flee to Cuba.

On Wednesday, a magistrate court in Dominica rejected Choksi’s bail plea in connection with his illegal entry into the country. The court also sent him to a hospital under police protection so that his injuries can be treated. Ahead of this hearing, the Dominican government told the court that Choksi should be deported to India.

At a briefing on Thursday, the Indian government said it will continue to “make all efforts” to bring him back.

On May 28, a Dominican court had extended the stay on Choksi’s deportation from the Caribbean island country till June 2. Choksi’s lawyers had argued that he was no longer a citizen of India and so he could not be sent there.

However, an Indian government official said that the administration would push for Choksi’s early deportation as he was still an Indian citizen. An official of India’s home ministry said that Choksi may have acquired the citizenship in Antigua through false declarations “and we have been opposing it”.

But Choksi’s counsel cited Article 9 of the Indian Constitution that said any person who obtains citizenship of another country automatically is not a citizen of India.

The fugitive businessman had been living in Antigua, where he had secured a passport, after he left India in 2018, just weeks before the Punjab National Bank fraud came to light. Following Choksi’s detention on the night of May 26, 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 PNB fraud case

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.

Some officials of the public sector bank had allegedly issued fraudulent Letters of Undertaking to companies belonging to Choksi’s nephew Nirav Modi, a diamond businessman. The bank later raised its estimate of the value of the fraud to over Rs 13,000 crore.

In April, 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.