Days after fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi was arrested in Dominica for allegedly entering the island nation “illegally”, some photographs have emerged where he is seen behind bars and has injury marks on his body.
In one of the photographs, Mehul Choksi can be seen standing behind a gate with iron grilles, resembling a lock-up. Other photographs show injury marks and bruises on his hand and wrist.
Mehul Choksi’s lawyers have alleged that he was “abducted” from Antigua and Barbuda, “forcibly taken to Dominica”, “badly beaten up” and has suffered “bruises”.
On 29 May, a court in Dominica heard a habeas corpus petition filed on his behalf. Habeas corpus is a writ that requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court.
Mehul Choksi is currently in a quarantine facility and the court has restrained Dominica from repatriating him to any country till 2 June.
The fugitive businessman is wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. He was arrested in Dominica on Wednesday for allegedly entering the country “illegally” from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been living since January 2018.
Vijay Aggarwal, Mehul Choksi’s lawyer in India, said there should be no speculations till one finds out from Mehul Choksi how he landed up in Dominica.
“My understanding is that his reaching Dominica is not voluntary. I find something fishy,” he said.
While filing the habeas corpus plea in Dominica, Mehul Choksi’s legal team had alleged there are “marks of torture” on his body. It was alleged 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.
Charges against Mehul Choski
Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted for allegedly siphoning Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) using letters of undertaking.
While Nirav Modi is in a London prison after being repeatedly denied bail and is contesting his extradition to India, Mehul Choksi took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 using the Citizenship by Investment programme before fleeing India in the first week of January 2018.
The scam came to light subsequently. Both are facing a CBI probe.
Mehul Choksi is facing two cases Antigua and Barbuda. One deals with his extradition to India and the other concerns revocation of his citizenship.