ED offers to provide air ambulance to bring Mehul Choksi back to India to stand trial
today Jun 24, 2019
The Enforcement Directorate has offered to provide an air ambulance to transport jeweller Mehul Choksi from Antigua to India to stand trial for his alleged fraud at the Punjab National Bank after Choksi cited ill health as the reason he could not travel.
The ED has offered to provide Choksi with both an air ambulance and a team of medical staff to allow him to travel from Antigua, where he has resided since before news of his alleged fraud broke in the media, to India, Asian News International reported. Choksi’s lawyer has presented a number of affidavits to the Bombay High Court stating that he is unfit to travel to India due to serious health complaints. The ED has criticised the validity of the documentation provided by Choksi and believes that he is merely making an excuse not to stand trial.
"The medical reasons and conditions appear to be facades being erected merely to mislead the court in an obvious attempt to delay the lawful proceedings,” said the ED in its affidavit to counter Choksi’s recent June 17 affidavit at the Bombay High Court. “We are ready to provide an expert medical team along with an air ambulance to bring him from Antigua to India under medical supervision."
Indian authorities are also still in negotiations with Antigua and Barbuda authorities about the possibility of extraditing Choksi to India. As the two countries do not currently have an extradition treaty, negotiations can take longer. The request is currently in the hands of Antigua and Barbuda authorities and still under consideration, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told Asian News International.
Choksi currently has the option of willingly travelling to India with the ED’s air ambulance or waiting until an extradition verdict is reached. Choksi is accused of fraud at the PNB along with his nephew and fellow jeweller Nirav Modi who is currently being held in Wandsworth Jail in London, UK, also awaiting an extradition verdict between UK and Indian authorities.
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