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Fugitive Mehul Choksi produced before magistrate, to face charges of illegal entry into Dominica

IANS/New Delhi
Filed on June 3, 2021
File photo

Mehul Choksi appeared before the magistrate on a wheelchair

Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi has been produced before a local magistrate in Dominica to answer charges of his illegal entry into the island country following a court order.

Choksi appeared before the magistrate on a wheelchair.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Dominica High Court ruled that Choksi, who is wanted in India in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, must be brought before a local magistrate to face charges of illegal entry.

According to people familiar with the matter, Justice Bernie Stephenson ruled that Choksi is to face charges of illegal entry into Dominica.

Meanwhile, Antigua News Room, a media outlet based in the Carribean nation, reported that the matter was brought before the court on Monday and after deliberations for just over three hours, the judge ruled that the application of habeas corpus be adjourned until 9 a.m. on Thursday.

The Dominican Public Prosecution Service has told the court that Choksi should be deported to India as his plea is not maintainable.

Opposing the Dominican Public Prosecution, Choksi's legal team contended that he is not a citizen of India as Article 9 of the Indian Constitution states that any person who acquires a citizenship of a foreign country will automatically cease to be an Indian citizen, and he cannot be directly repatriated to India.

The court will be hearing the matter once again on Thursday.

Choski is undergoing treatment at the China friendship hospital since last week.

Earlier in the day, Stephenson started hearing submissions from lawyers representing Choksi and the police in Dominica.

Meanwhile, Choksi's lawyer in India, Vijay Agarwal told IANS: "Only question before the court is that whether he entered Dominica illegally or not, whether he is liable to be detained, whether Dominican police have the right to keep him in custody."

Agarwal also contended that how shall he be deported is not a question before the court.

Choksi had gone missing from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23 sparking a massive manhunt. He was captured in Dominica on May 26.

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