By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 28, May 2021, 11:47 am IST | UPDATED: 28, May 2021, 15:57 pm IST
New Delhi: In a turn of events, lawyers of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who has been held in Dominica, have gone ahead to file a habeas corpus petition in a court of the Caribbean island country after they were allegedly not given access to him.
"The legal team has filed a habeas corpus petition in Dominica for Mehul Choksi and have also highlighted deprivation of access to Mehul Choksi and deprivation of constitutional rights to legal assistance," said his legal counsel Vijay Aggarwal to PTI.
The lawyer has raised suspicion regarding Choksi's disappearance from Antigua and Barbuda and later to be detained in Dominica, about 100 nautical miles away, for illegal entry. Aggarwal called the entire episode of his mysterious disappearance and detention in Dominica "fishy". He said that after being taken from Antigua, Choksi was kept somewhere, and then on Monday he was taken to a police station. Since then he has been there and this news to the world was broken only on Wednesday, and there were marks on his body, Aggarwal said.
"There is something fishy and I guess it was a strategy to take him to another country so that there are chances of sending him back to India. So I don't know what forces are operating. Only the time will tell," he said.
His lawyer in Dominica, Wayne Marsh, had told a radio show that in a brief interaction with Choksi, allowed by authorities after lot of efforts, the diamantaire had claimed that he was picked up at Jolly Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda by men looking like Indian and Antiguan policemen and was put in a vessel.
Marsh had said he saw marks on the body of Choksi who had swollen eyes and feared for his life. He said Choksi is a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda and not India hence he should be sent back.
Meanwhile, a Dominica court has ordered a stay on the businessman’s repatriation after his lawyers filed a habeas corpus petition alleging that he was denied legal rights and was not allowed to meet his lawyers initially, as per the Hindustan Times report.
Typically, a habeas corpus petition is brought before a court to determine whether a prisoner or other detainee’s imprisonment or detention is lawful.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne reiterated his stand saying the fugitive businessman can still be directly extradited to India as he still holds dual citizenship. His lawyer in Dominica, Wayne Marsh, had told a radio show that in a brief interaction with Choksi, allowed by authorities after lot of efforts, the diamantaire had claimed that he was picked up at Jolly Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda by men looking like Indian and Antiguan policemen and was put in a vessel.