Dominica drops ‘illegal entry’ charges against Mehul Choksi

As a relief to diamond dealer Mehul Choksi accused of PNB bank fraud, the government of Dominica has dropped “all charges” related to his mysterious illegal entry from Antigua and Barbuda in May last year, according to his spokesperson from London. Choksi was arrested in Dominica, the Caribbean island nation, in May last year after disappearing from Antigua and Barbuda where he had taken up citizenship before allegedly escaping from India to avoid charges of orchestrating a Rs 13,500 crore scam at the Punjab National Bank in which his nephew Nirav Modi is a co-defendant.

He was released on bail after 51 days by the High Court of Dominica. During the period, India made desperate attempts to bring him back with a CBI team stationed there with a private jet. His lawyers, however, had alleged that he had been abducted in Antigua by Indian-looking men who had brought him to Dominica.

All charges against Choksi for illegal entry into Dominica were dropped on May 20, the spokesperson said. “Mr. Choksi is pleased that the Dominican government has dropped all charges against him for illegal entry in May 2021. They now acknowledge that there were never any charges against him. Mr. Choksi was forcibly deported from Antigua against his will by agents of the Indian state, violently assaulted and taken to Dominica by boat, where he was again illegally handed over to the authorities for an offense he never committed,” said the spokesperson.

The statement said that Choksi’s legal team will continue to seek all avenues of justice to redress the human rights violations committed against him. “Mr. Choksi hopes that those responsible for his abduction in Antigua on May 23, 2021 will be brought to justice,” he said.

Choksi, 62, was released on bail by Dominica’s High Court in July last year to return to Antigua to seek medical help from a neurologist based there with a provision that he will return for be judged when he gets clearance for fitness from his doctors. While seeking bail in Dominica, Choksi attached his medical reports, including CT scan reports which showed “a slight worsening of the hematoma”.

Doctors recommend an urgent review of his condition by a neurologist and a neurosurgical consultant. According to medical reports, the High Court had allowed Choksi to return to Antigua for treatment.

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