Diamantaire Mehul Choksi will return to Dominica to face trial for illegal entry into that country only when a doctor certifies that he is fit to stand trial, local media reported, citing conditions laid down by the Dominica High Court that granted him bail on Monday.
What has the court said?
Dominica High Court Judge Bernie Stephenson allowed the businessman to return to Antigua and Barbuda, where he has been living as a citizen since 2018 after leaving India.
His lawyer Michael Polak quoted Dominican doctors to flag concerns over Choksi’s health issues and the need of urgent medical assistance of a neurologist and neurosurgical consultant, which is not available in Dominica. The judge said Choksi will only return to Dominica when a doctor certifies that he is fit to stand trial, Dominica News Online reported.
The High Court also ordered that Choksi must intimate the court in the case of any change of specialist and his address in Antigua where he was going to stay.
The High Court also ordered he must notify the court of his address in Dominica once he returns and his bail will be reviewed within 48 hours. The hearing of bail was held as lawyers intimated the court of his worsening health.
Choksi’s health in focus
According to Polak, Choksi is suffering from a number of ailments including cerebrovascular disease, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and blood dyscrasias. He is also suffering from a subdural haematoma, the collection of blood between the skull and the surface of the brain.
Choksi is also suffering from a brain clot, besides other health issues such as diabetes and hypertension, his legal team has submitted.
What does it mean for India’s extradition efforts?
Choksi has sought a judicial review of case of illegal entry into Dominica brought upon him by the local police and decision of a minister there to declare him a prohibited immigrant. The matter has now been deferred till 26 January, 2022.
His trial for illegal entry before a magistrate has also been stayed, which is likely to pose hurdles in the battle to have him extradited to India, where he is among the accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam.
After reports of him being held in Dominica had surfaced, India rushed a team of officials led by CBI DIG Sharda Raut to make every effort to bring him back on the basis of Interpol Red Notice against him. His lawyers had alleged that he was abducted from Antigua and Barbuda in an elaborate plot hatched by men of Indian origin and a mystery woman, named Barbara Jabarica.
Polak who filed a complaint with Scotland Yard said Choksi was removed from Antigua and Barbuda, where as a citizen he enjoys rights to approach the British Queen's Privy Council as last resort in cases on his citizenship and extradition, to Dominica where these rights are not available to him.
With inputs from PTI