Home » India » Dominican court to hear fugitive Choski’s extradition plea on June 2 | Latest News India

Dominican court to hear fugitive Choski’s extradition plea on June 2 | Latest News India

The case related to the extradition of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who is admitted to a hospital in Dominica, after his dramatic escape from Antigua and Barbadua and subsequent capture, is likely to be heard in the Commonwealth Court of Justice on June 2, officials aware of the development said on Monday.

A Dominican court has extended till June 2 its order restraining the extradition of Choksi from Dominica. The court will next hear the matter on June 2 as Choksi has moved a habeas corpus plea.

Choksi’s lawyers claimed that the absconding billionaire was “abducted” and taken to the island nation of Dominica by “force”.

However, HT learns that India’s Enforcement Directorate will take a plea in the court that Choksi remains an Indian citizen even though he has a passport issued by Antigua and Barbuda, as is in Dominica illegally, on the grounds that he is a absconder in case of a multi-billion fraud and that he has an Interpol Red Corner Notice against his name, and that he should, therefore, be deported to India.

But the key part of ED’s argument, HT learns, will be that while Choksi surrendered his Indian passport in September 2018 in Georgetown Guyana, this was not accepted and the surrender documents were not signed by the prescribed authority. ED will argue, citing Rule 23 of India’s Citizenship Act, that the prescribed authority in this case is the ministry of home affairs.

The ED has obtained the following information in support of its proof that Choksi remains an India citizen:

1. Annexure-A – Bank Account Opening Form of M/s. Asmi Jewellery India Pvt. Ltd. dated 15.06.2010 with Punjab National Bank:

It bears signatures of Mehul Choksi as director of the company at page 9 and 15. He has also signed at page 14 as 1st Authorized Signatory of the company opposite to his photograph. In the customer master form attached with the account opening form, Mehul Choksi has clearly mentioned his nationality as Indian at column no. 6 of page 16 and signed the form as customer at page 19. The Income tax Return acknowledgement issued by the Indian Income Tax department to Mehul Choksi having PAN No. AABPC1415E is attached at page 20. At page no. 21, copy of PAN Card issued by Income Tax Department, Government of India vide no. AABPC1415E to Mehul Choksi is also attached with the form.

2. Annexure-B – Bank Account Opening Form of M/s. Gitanjali Gems Ltd. for Account No. 3731008702687143 with Punjab National Bank:

It bears signatures of Mehul Choksi below his photograph as 1st Authorized person and also across his photograph at page 6. In the customer master form attached with the account opening form, Mehul Choksi has clearly mentioned his nationality as Indian at column no. 1 under Personal details at page 14, where his photograph is affixed and signed by him across as well as below the photograph. He has also signed the form as applicant at page 17.

3. Annexure-C – A copy of PAN Card issued by Income Tax Department:

The PAN card issued to Mehul Choksi by the government of India vide no. AABPC1415E proves that he is a tax payer in India.

The ED also procured the details of Indian passports issued to Choksi from time-to-time. The details are as follows:

a. Annexure-D – Passport no. G2453252 and Passport application of Mehul Choksi (date of issue: 27.03.2007):

This passport issued to Mr. Mehul Choksi was valid from 27.03.2007 to 28.03.2017 and the passport shows his Nationality as Indian. The Passport Application bears his photograph, signature and thumb impression at page 1 of the application. Under column no. 5 of Passport Application, he has mentioned his place of birth as “Mumbai, Maharashtra, India” and under column no. 21 of the application, he has signed a self declaration “I have not lost, surrendered or been deprived of citizenship of India”. The application was received at Regional Passport Office, Mumbai on 26.03.2007, as per the seal affixed at page 1 of the application.

b. Annexure-E – Passport no. Z1776927 and Passport application of Mehul Choksi (date of issue: 19.10.2007):

This passport of Mr. Mehul Choksi valid from 19.10.2007 to 18.10.2017 was issued on cancellation of his earlier passport no. G2453252 and the passport shows his Nationality as Indian. The Application Form for this passport bears his photograph and signature on page 1. Under column no. 5 of Passport Application, he has mentioned his place of birth as “Mumbai, India” and at column no. 14, he has mentioned that he is a citizen of India by Birth and at column no. 19, he has signed a self declaration “I have not lost, surrendered or been deprived of citizenship of India”. The application was received at Regional Passport Office, Mumbai on 12.10.2007, as per the seal affixed at page 1 of the application.

c. Annexure-F – Passport no. Z2198941 and Passport application of Mehul Choksi (date of issue: 24.03.2011):

This passport of Mr. Mehul Choksi valid from 24.03.2011 to 23.03.2021 was issued on cancellation of his earlier passport no. Z1776927 and the passport shows his Nationality as Indian. The signed Application Form dtd. 21.03.2011 for this passport bears his photograph and signature on page 1. Under column no. 5 of Passport Application, he has mentioned his place of birth as “Mumbai, Maharashtra,” . At column no. 14, he has mentioned that he is a citizen of India by Birth and at column no. 19, he has signed a self declaration “I have not lost, surrendered or been deprived of citizenship of India”.

d. Annexure-G – Passport no. Z3396732 and Passport application of Mehul Choksi (date of issue: 10.09.2015):

This passport of Mr. Mehul Choksi valid from 10.09.2015 to 09.09.2025 was issued due to exhaustion of pages of his earlier passport no. Z2198941 and the passport shows his Nationality as Indian. The signed Application Form dtd. 09.09.2015 for this passport bears his photograph and signature on page 1. In this Passport Application, he has mentioned his place of birth as “Mumbai, Maharashtra, India” at page 1 and he has mentioned that he is a citizen of India by Birth in this application and at page no. 2, he has signed a self-declaration “I have not lost, surrendered or been deprived of citizenship of India” and at page 3 he has signed as applicant.

5. Annexure-H – Agreement between M/s. Gitanjali Gems Ltd. and Mr. Mehul Choksi executed on 04.10.2012

A copy of agreement executed between M/s. Gitanjali Gems Ltd. and Mr. Mehul Choksi on 04.10.2012, which was submitted to Registrar of Companies, Maharashtra wherein Mr. Mehul Choksi is submitting a signed affidavit that he is an Indian National at page 1. In this agreement at para 2, the shareholders have approved re-appointment of Mr. Mehul Choksi as Managing Director for a further period of five years with effect from 01.08.2012. Mr. Mehul Choksi has signed at the bottom of every page of this agreement.

HT has learnt that Choksi has flown in four lawyers from London to represent him in the court on June 2.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted in India for allegedly siphoning off 13,500 crore of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) using letters of undertaking.

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