Fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi was seen in the custody of the police in Dominica in a photo obtained by local media on Saturday shortly after a court in the Caribbean island nation extended till Wednesday its order restraining his deportation.
The court also directed that the 62-year-old businessman be taken to a hospital for medical attention and a COVID-19 test.
On Wednesday, it will hear a habeas corpus plea – which determines whether a detention is lawful – on Wednesday field by Choksi, who has been charged with entering the country illegally, throwing up another hurdle to New Delhi’s attempts to have him brought home and tried in India’s largest bank fraud case.
Choksi, who was born in India, was captured in Dominica earlier this week after going missing from the Caribbean nation of Antigua on Sunday, triggering a global manhunt.
He had been living in Antigua, where he had secured a passport, after fleeing India before the fraud came to light. He is one of the main defendants in the case.
After Choksi was detained, Antigua refused to take him back and Prime Minister Gaston Browne told news agency ANI that the country was in talks with the Dominican as well as Indian governments for his repatriation to India.
Investigators in India have filed fraud charges against Choksi, his nephew, Nirav Modi, and others in connection with their suspected involvement in fraudulent transactions that led to losses of about Rs 14,000 crore for the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
PNB alleged in 2018 that a few rogue employees had issued fake bank guarantees over several years to help jewellery groups controlled by Modi and Choksi to raise funds in foreign credit.
Both Modi and Choksi have denied any wrongdoing. Modi was arrested in London in 2019 and is fighting extradition to India. The Indian government has been pushing for Choksi’s extradition from Antigua and Barbuda.
(With inputs from agencies)