Fugitive entrepreneur Mehul Choksi has filed a judicial review plea in the Dominica High Court to quash the proceedings against him in the country, Carribean website Nature Isle News reported on Tuesday.
Choksi, 62, 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. He was held in Dominica on May 26 after he allegedly fled Antigua and Barbuda. Choksi had been living in Antigua since 2018 as a citizen after fleeing India just before the bank fraud came to light.
Choksi’s plea names Lincoln Corbette, the acting chief of police of Roseau, Dominica, police officer Alleyne Maximea, Minister of Immigration and National Security Rayburn Blackmore as respondents in the case. The plea alleged that the decision by Corbette and Maximea to charge Choksi for illegally entering Dominica was not taken independently.
In his plea, the fugitive businessman has cited 23 grounds on which he should be granted relief. Among them were allegations against the Dominican police officials that they “allowed themselves to be dictated by third parties, namely representatives of the Indian Government”. Therefore, the court should rule their decisions as “unlawful, null, and void and of no effect”, Choksi’s plea added.
The plea also sought a “permanent order staying the criminal charge brought against the Applicant for breach of section 27A of the Immigration and Passport Act”, Nature Isle News reported. The petition also urged the court to quash the criminal charges under the Immigration and Passport Act.
“On 23rd May 2021, the applicant was kidnapped from Antigua by persons of Indian nationality and forcibly taken by boat to Dominica,” the plea claimed. “There he was handed over to members of the Coast Guard of Dominica and then to the Chief of Police of Dominica.”
Choksi’s plea claimed that the decisions in his case taken by Blackmoore was a “breach of the principles of natural justice and is accordingly null and void and of no effect” and therefore an order should be passed against the actions, according to Nature Isle News.
The case so far
Choksi had been reported missing by his family on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda. Since being held in neighbouring Dominica, he has been in judicial custody, charged with illegally entering the country.
In his complaint dated June 2, Choksi named a woman who he claimed had entrapped him. He also claimed “Indian men” – Narender Singh, Arminder Singh and Gurmit Singht – were behind the alleged kidnapping plan.
On June 11, the Dominica High Court denied bail to Choksi, saying he was a “flight risk”.
On July 1, Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit rejected Choksi’s claims that his government was involved in the alleged abduction of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi.
Last week, Choksi’s lawyer in Antigua had said that investigators of Britain’s Metropolitan Police were looking into the possibility of the businessman’s alleged abductors being residents of England.