Mehul Choksi moved from state to prison custody but remains in hospital in Dominica
Jewellery tycoon Mehul Choksi is now in prison custody in Dominica following the decision of a local magistrate court. He remains in hospital on the island with deteriorating health.
On Thursday, a Dominica Magistrate Court ruled to transfer Choksi to police custody after already rejecting his bail plea as he stands accused of illegal entry into the country, ET Bureau reported. Choksi, accused of fraud at the Punjab National Bank back in India through his jewellery brand Gitanjali Gems, alleges that he did not enter the island illegally, but was in fact kidnapped and taken there against his will from Antigua where he was residing.
“Police custody has been changed to prison custody but he shall remain in hospital as his medical condition has deteriorated,” said Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal, the Press Trust of India reported.
Choksi remained in hospital during the hearing as his legal tram had presented a medical certificate from the Dominica China Friendship Hospital where he is being treated for mental stress and elevated blood pressure.
Choksi’s change in custody status could make it possible for Indian authorities to have him extradited to India to stand trial for his alleged fraud. Indian authorities have already approached the Dominica High Court to request this but the fact that Choksi has given up his Indian citizenship and taken Antiguan citizenship has created legal challenges.
Choksi’s legal team believe that he was taken to Dominica from Antigua in an attempt to remove certain legal protections available to him such as the right to appeal to the British Privy Council. Indian and Antiguan authorities deny any part in Choksi’s transportation to Dominica as vehemently as Choksi himself denies his fraud accusations.
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