Dominican court granted bail to Choksi, allowed to travel to Antigua for treatment
However, this is a blow for Indian agencies who are seeking Choksi's extradition to India to stand trial in the ₹13,000-crore PNB loan fraud case. While India claims that Choksi is an Indian citizen, he argues that he no longer is because he obtained Antiguan citizenship in 2017.
According to the reports, the high court of justice in Dominica on Monday granted interim bail to fugitive Indian millionaire Mehul Choksi and allowed him to travel to Antigua and Barbuda "strictly for medical care." In addition to this, Choksi must return to Dominica, where he is facing unlawful entry charges, once he is medically cleared to fly, the court said.
Further, it ordered Choksi to submit $10,000 (₹275,000) in Eastern Caribbean dollars as surety for the bail and to return to the island following his treatment. As per the people mentioned above, he is expected to be evacuated in an air ambulance to Antigua on Wednesday after completing legal requirements.
His legal team moved the Dominica high court last week for relief, claiming that his health was worsening and that he requires immediate medical attention.
The 62-year-old businessman, who is wanted in India in connection with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, has been detained by Dominican police for illegally entering the island on 24th May and faces prosecution on that count. He was quickly transferred to the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital and has been receiving treatment since 31st May.
His legal team requested that he be allowed to fly to Antigua since he had a heart ailment, diabetes, hypertension, and a brain clot.
Moreover, Choksi presented a medical certificate from Princess Margaret Hospital in Dominica in support of his trip to Antigua. It states that he would be evaluated by a private physician for a neurological assessment, and that a neurosurgeon from the United States would assist the physician.
“Dominica courts have finally recognised the rule of law and a person's right to be treated in the medical facility of his choice. And all efforts by various agencies have failed...,” claimed Choksi's lawyer, Vijay Aggarwal.
There was no official reaction from New Delhi to the news on Monday. Officials in India, on the other hand, have dismissed Choksi's allegation of bad medical health as a "drama" designed to keep him out of Dominica prison.
As per the report, Choksi sought the HC last week to request a judicial review of the unlawful entry case against him, arguing that he did not leave Antigua and Barbuda on his own but was taken to Dominica as part of a “collusion” between governments, an allegation that has been dismissed.
Choksi, who fled India in January 2018 and was residing in Antigua, went missing on 23rd May. He was apprehended on a Dominican beach some 200 kilometres away, prompting the Indian authorities to seek his deportation because he was a forbidden immigrant in the country, as opposed to Antigua, where he enjoyed constitutional and legal protections as a citizen.
In Antigua, however, he is facing extradition to India as well as revocation of his citizenship. Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne has already stated that Choksi will not be returned to his country and that he should be deported directly to India.