The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) has restrained Dominican authorities from deporting fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, until further hearing into the matter, to India after taking note of the submissions made in his habeas corpus petition. The matter will be heard next on June 2.
Justice ME Birnie Stephenson, in her order, put in an injunction regarding the same and restrained the respondents from removing the applicant, Mehul Choksi, from the Commonwealth of Dominica whether via themselves, servants, agents, or representatives until further notice.
The court also allowed Choksi to meet with his lawyers and be sent to a hospital for medical attention and for a COVID-19 test. It further directed the Dominican authorities to file affidavits in response to Choksi's application.
Mehul Choksi's four lawyers representing him-- Wayne Norde, Julien Prevost, Cara Shillingford-Marsh, and Wayne Benjamin Marsh, appeared on his behalf, while Attorney General Levy A Peter represented the respondents, Dominican authorities in the matter.
"The legal team has filed a habeas corpus petition in Dominica for Mehul Choksi and has also highlighted deprivation of access and constitutional rights to him for legal assistance," Mehul Choksi's lawyer from India Advocate Vijay Aggarwal said.
Choksi's lawyers stated in their writ petition that he was denied legal rights and was not permitted to meet with his legal counsel initially. The fugitive businessman's lawyer also claimed that 'marks of torture' were found on Choksi's body.
Meanwhile, Aggarwal also alleged that the fugitive diamantaire was forcefully picked up from Antigua and taken to Dominica.
"I noticed that he was severely beaten, his eyes were swollen, and had several burnt marks on his body. He reported to me that he was abducted at Jolly Harbour in Antigua and brought to Dominica by persons whom he believed to be Indian and Antiguan police on a vessel he described to be about 60-70 feet in length," Choksi's lawyer Wayne Marsh told news agency ANI.
Terming it a 'travesty of justice', Marsh stated that the whole country needs to speak out and he as a lawyer would do everything to stop Choksi's abuse.
After Choksi went missing, Antigua and Barbuda authorities launched a massive manhunt and issued an Interpol Yellow Notice. He was traced and captured in Dominica. Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the fugitive diamantaire, who was found in Dominica, will be repatriated to India and that Indian authorities are in touch with Dominican authorities.
Choksi, along with his nephew, Nirav Modi, has been accused of siphoning off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from Punjab National Bank using letters of undertaking (LoUs).
Edited by Mehak Agarwal; with agency inputs