Thursday, July 29, 2021
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Court in Dominica to hear Choksi case on Wednesday

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court to contemplate implementation of International Red Corner Notice in India’s favour

Lawyers for fugitive businessman and diamond dealer Mehul Choksi and the public prosecutor in Dominica filed written submissions on the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court on Tuesday, forward of a listening to on Wednesday on whether or not he shall be deported.

As Indian investigators watch the end result of the listening to fastidiously, legal professionals are anticipated to argue over whether or not Dominica is ready to implement the International Red Corner Notice in India’s favour, and whether or not his citizenship shall be an element in the court docket’s determination.

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Also learn: India has sent jet to Dominica for Mehul Choksi’s extradition, says Antigua PM

Mr. Choksi’s legal professionals are asking the court docket that if he’s deported, he needs to be despatched again to Antigua and Barbuda, the place he’s already going through an extradition trial, in addition to a case to revoke his Antiguan citizenship, however enjoys safety from instant deportation to India.

“My client, Mr. Mehul Choksi, is citizen of Antigua and is entitled to all constitutional protections under the Antiguan Constitution and all remedies available to him under law which he has even successfully availed,” Mr. Choksi’s lawyer in India Vijay Aggarwal informed The Hindu, alleging that Mr. Choksi had been “abducted” from Antigua by a gaggle of people led by a girl, who had befriended him on false premises.

While Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne has mentioned Mr. Choksi remains an Indian citizen, as he has not accomplished the renunciation course of, Mr. Aggarwal identified that “as per Section 9 of the Citizenship Act, a person would cease to be an Indian citizen the moment s/he acquired the citizenship of any other country,” as Mr. Choksi did, when he acquired Antiguan citizenship in 2017.

Later he and his nephew Nirav Modi, who’re accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank of ₹13,500 crore in dangerous loans, fled India, and are being pursued by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigations. According to Mr. Brown, India has already despatched a crew of investigators carrying paperwork for the Dominica courts, and hope to transport him again to India if the court docket orders it.

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“From our perspective, we need to prove that irrespective of his Antiguan citizenship, the crimes that he is alleged to have committed were committed when he was an Indian citizen and at least before he acquired Antiguan citizenship,” mentioned Rupin Sharma, senior IPS officer and writer of a guide on extradition procedures. “Even foreigners can violate Indian laws and commit crimes and do not have any immunity if they are in India,” he added

Mr. Aggarwal nonetheless, made it clear that the way of Mr. Choksi’s look in Dominica, exhibiting bruises and accidents can be a part of the plea in the Dominica court docket, as they’ll make the case that he was forcibly taken from Antigua.

“All these theories of Mr. Choksi fleeing from Antigua voluntarily is 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 his passport in his pocket. Brutal marks on his body and the passport factor now establishes abduction claims,” mentioned Mr. Aggarwal.

According to Mr. Sharma, who led the crew that efficiently ensured the extradition of underworld gangster accused of the 1993 Mumbai blasts conspiracy, Abu Salem from Portugal in 2005 after a protracted authorized battle, the Choksi case could possibly be sophisticated by the accidents, however the prosecutors crew may additionally make the plea that it was the fugitive jeweller who had himself “stage-managed the disappearance himself to make it a multi-jurisdiction matter to complicate the extradition case and delay his return to India.”

When requested why the Interpol Red Corner Notice that was put out in December 2018 had not been enough for the Caribbean island international locations to extradite Mr. Choksi to India, Mr. Sharma mentioned RCNs solely assist with the “location and arrest of fugitives.” Except in some international locations that enable extraditions for fugitives recognized by the worldwide coalition Interpol, there isn’t any “obligation to extradite, he added.

“Extradition depends upon treaties — bilateral or multi-lateral as also on the reciprocity and diplomatic relations between countries,” Mr. Sharma added.

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