The brutal marks on Mehul Choksi's body clearly establish our abduction claims, the fugitive businessman's lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said Sunday. Wanted in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case, Choksi was arrested in Dominica on Wednesday for allegedly entering the country "illegally" from Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been living since January 2018.
"All these theories of Mehul Choksi fleeing from Antigua voluntarily are opposed to common sense. Firstly, he has a stay in his favour in Antigua. Secondly, I have been informed that his passport is in Antigua only, so nobody will try to escape without having passport in his pocket. Brutal marks on body and this passport factor now establishes abduction claims," Aggarwal said.
Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said Choksi may have left his sanctuary in Antigua and taken a boat ride to neighbouring Dominica to have dinner or a "good time" with his girlfriend. He said that Government of Dominica and law enforcement agencies, unless the court rules otherwise, can deport him to India because he is an Indian citizen.
"The information that we are getting is that Mehul Choksi may have taken his girlfriend to Dominica probably to have dinner or have a good time and so on and got caught.
That would have been a monumental error because in Antigua he is a citizen, we could not deport him...," he said in an interview to a local radio station as reported by Antigua News Room.
"The problem is if he is sent back to Antigua because he is an Antiguan citizen, even though his citizenship is unsettled, he still enjoys constitutional and legal protections.
We have no doubt that his citizenship will ultimately be revoked because he did not disclose material information," Browne said.
The Antiguan prime minister also claimed that a jet came from India carrying necessary documentation needed for deportation of the businessman. There was, however, no immediate official confirmation from Indian authorities about it.
Earlier, the Dominica High Court had stayed the removal of Choksi from its soil and put a gag order on the developments till the matter is heard in an open court on June 2. Choksi, through his lawyer, has alleged that he was abducted from Jolly Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda by Antiguan and Indian looking policemen and was taken to Dominica.
Pictures believed to be of 62-year-old Choksi have also surfaced in Dominica showing him with a red, swollen eye and bruises on his hands.
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. Both are facing a CBI and ED probe.