The Dominica High Court on Friday denied bail to fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi in connection with his illegal entry into the island country, India Today reported.
Judge Wynante Adrien-Roberts said Choksi was a “flight risk”. The court observed that the businessman has no ties to Dominica for it to impose any conditions to stop him from leaving the country, according to ANI.
Choksi had approached the High Court after the magistrate had rejected his bail petition. During Friday’s hearing, his counsel argued for bail on medical grounds.
Advocate Lennox Lawrence, representing the state, said Interpol has issued a Red Notice against Choksi. The Interpol notices, which are not international arrest warrants, ask authorities worldwide to provisionally detain people pending possible extradition or other legal actions. Interpol issues them at the request of a member country.
Lawrence also told the High Court that Choksi was given the necessary medical treatment.
The case so far
Choksi 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. The scam created a controversy 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.
Choksi had been reported missing by his family on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen after fleeing India before the fraud came to light.
He has been in judicial custody in Dominica since May 24, charged with illegally entering the country.
On May 25, the government of Dominica declared Choksi a prohibited immigrant. The country’s Internal Security Minister Rayburn Blackmoore said in a notice that the police has been instructed to take all necessary actions to have him repatriated in accordance with the procedure laid out in Section 5(1) (1) of the Immigration and Passport Act.
In his complaint dated June 2, Choksi named a woman who he claims entrapped him. He also claimed “Indian men” – Narender Singh, Arminder Singh and Gurmit Singht – were behind the kidnapping plan.