What is India’s Case for Extraditing Mehul Choksi from Antigua?
Choksi was detained on 23 May in the island country of Dominica on charges of entering the country illegally.
In a series of twists and turns, India’s recent goose chase to extradite fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi ended in the gutter as the CBI and MEA team failed to return home with the scamster.
To bring you up to speed, Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are the key accused in the Rs 13,400 crore Punjab National Bank scam of 2017. Both fled India in January 2018 before the CBI could file a case against them and have been absconding since.
While Choksi was wanted by Indian authorities and even had Interpol warrants against him, he was staying in the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda, of which he gained citizenship in November 2017.
But the recent action began on 23 May, when it was reported that Choksi was detained by the police in the island country of Dominica, on charges of entering the country illegally on a boat.
However, the twist in the story comes on the reasons given by Choksi’s lawyers and his wife for his presence in Dominica. Both have alleged that a woman named Barbara had invited Choksi to her house in Antigua, where he was ambushed by a team of abductors, who then forced him into a boat and carried him to Dominica.
Choksi’s lawyers have also filed a habeas corpus petition in the Dominican high court. A bail hearing for the same has been adjourned to 9 June.
So, did the India team jump the gun in flying to Dominica? How will these allegations of abductions and escape play up in the case against Choksi? What is India’s case for bringing him back and what are the legal hurdles for extraditing him?
To help navigate the extradition process and the case, in today’s episode, we spoke with Rupin Sharma, a 1992 batch IPS officer and author of the book Extradition.
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