Fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi's first pictures surfaced on Saturday, days after he was arrested in Dominica for allegedly entering the country "illegally". Seen behind bars in the photos, there are visible signs of injury marks on his body.
The pictures, tweeted by AntiguaNewsRoom, show bruises on Mehul Choksi's hands, wrist, and left eye which appeared contused and swollen. Tweeting the photographs, the AntiguaNewsRoom said, "First pictures emerge of Mehul Choksi behind bars."
First pictures emerge of Mehul Choksi behind bars pic.twitter.com/UvelfTXKx8AntiguaNewsRoom (@AntiguaNewsRoom) May 29, 2021
In one of the pictures, the fugitive businessman can be seen standing behind a gate with iron grilles, similar to a lock-up.
Meanwhile, Mehul Choksi's lawyers have claimed that he was "abducted" from Antigua and Barbuda, and was "forcibly taken to Dominica", "badly beaten up" and hence suffered "bruises".
A Dominican court, on Friday, heard a habeas corpus plea filed on his behalf. Habeas corpus is a writ under which a person under arrest has to be brought before a judge or into a court particularly to secure his/her release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention. Mehul Choksi is presently in a quarantine facility, while the court has restrained Dominica from deporting him to any country till June 2.
Choksi, who is wanted in a Rs 13,500-crore loan fraud in the Punjab National Bank, was last seen going for dinner in his car in Antigua and Barbuda on May 23. His staff had reported him missing after his car was found.
On May 27, the Dominica government confirmed his presence on its soil, saying he has been "detained" for illegal entry.
Meanwhile, Mehul Choksi's lawyer in India, Vijay Aggarwal, stated that there should be no conjectures till one finds out from the businessman how he landed up in Dominica.
"My understanding is that his reaching Dominica is not voluntary. I find something fishy," he said.
Mehul Choksi's lawyer in Dominica, Wayne Marsh, had earlier stated that they were denied access to their client. He added that it was only on May 27 that Mehul Choksi was eventually allowed to speak to the fugitive businessman. In the plea, Marsh alleged that his client sustained "marks of torture" on his body. He also claimed that Mehul Choksi was "forcefully picked up" from Antigua and Barbuda against his wishes.
"My client is a human being, not some pawn that he can be just put in any square in the game of chess as per anybody's desire or on anybody's statement. My stand is vindicated and I am filled with gratitude and appreciation seeing the statement of United Progressive Party of Antigua, recognising that Antigua ought to protect the rights of every citizen. My client Mehul Choksi is citizen of Antigua and is entitled to all constitutional protections under Antiguan constitution and is entitled to all remedies available to him under law which he has even successfully availed," Vijay Aggawal said in a statement on Saturday.
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