Efforts have been scaled up to bring back fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi. ANI has learnt that multiple agencies are in touch with the government of Dominica on the issue which has been told that Choksi is originally an Indian citizen and had taken on new citizenship to escape the law in India after having committed a fraud of almost two billion US dollars.
It is reliably gathered that India through back-channel and diplomatic route has clearly told Dominica that Mehul Choksi should be treated as a fugitive Indian citizen who has an Interpol Red Corner notice against him and he should be handed over to Indian authorities for deportation and to face the law in India for his alleged deeds which have robbed the Indian public of billions of dollars. There is no case for Choksi to deny his Indian citizenship as any other citizenship is a front to hide his alleged crimes.
In fact, neighbouring Antigua has also urged Dominica to hand over Choksi to India directly. However, Dominica remains non-committal and two days back issued a statement saying that Choksi will be handed over to Antigua.
Choksi enjoys full legal protection in Antigua and it will be time consuming to extradite Choksi to India from there. Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne has told ANI in an interview that Choksi will not be allowed to enter back in Antigua for where Choksi fled and illegally sneaked into Dominica and was caught.
Domestic politics of Antigua and the commonwealth of Dominica has also come into play, according to local media reports. The opposition parties in Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica are making full attempts to grab political mileage by supporting the Indian fugitive in return for campaign financing.
According to a report published on website of WIC news, "It was alleged that the opposition leader of UPP, Jamale Pringle had an under-table meeting with the family of fugitive Mehul Choksi and has made a special unofficial funding agreement with them to raise the voice of Choksi in the parliament."
"Whether it is the United Progressive Party (UPP) of Antigua and Barbuda or the United Workers Party (UWP) of Dominica, the two are on the race track to win a spot to back Mehul Choksi as they aspire to receive his support in their future political endeavours, these claims are made by some Caribbean political strategists with years of experience in the region," said the local media reports.
The political and money power of Choksi likely to be on display on June 2 when his hearing comes up. He had hired a crack team of lawyers and is building local political support, say informed sources.
However, a lot will depend on back-channel pressure along with Interpol's pressure for Choksi to be handed over to India.
A Dominican court has extended till June 2 its order restraining the extradition of Choksi from Dominica. The High Court will also hear the Indian fugitive's habeas corpus plea on that date.
(With ANI inputs)