The multi-agency team tasked with bringing back Mehul Choksi from Dominica will return to Delhi at 11 pm – without the fugitive jeweller – after the Dominican High Court adjourned his habeas corpus petition to July and extended its order on removing him from that country.
The eight-member team – which includes Enforcement Directorate officials and the head of the CBI’s Bank Securities and Frauds (Mumbai) division – had been sent to assist public prosecutors.
The team had reportedly argued that Choksi should be deported back to India on grounds that he remains a citizen of this country. Sources had said: “Choksi is not a citizen of Dominica, so he cannot claim any fundamental rights in the island.”
However, Choksi’s lawyer has said Dominica cannot send his client back to India since he is now a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda.
On Thursday the Caribbean nation’s court refused Mr Choksi bail after he pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal entry; he claimed he had been kidnapped and brought to Dominica.
His lawyers argued non-nationals had received bail for similar matters, and said they would accept “double the maximum” amount.
The government argued against bail, pointing to Mr Choksi, who is wanted in India in connection with a Rs 13,500 crore loan fraud case, as a flight risk with Interpol notices against him.
Mr Choksi, 62, was caught allegedly trying to escape from Antigua to Cuba via Dominica.
He’d fled to Antigua in 2018, after purchasing a citizenship from that country, as CBI and Enforcement Directorate investigations into the loan fraud case were picking up pace.
After his arrest in Dominica, Antigua has said he should be handed over to India directly.