India's battle for Mehul Choksi's extradition suffered a setback after the fugitive diamantaire landed in Antigua and Barbuda on Wednesday after spending 51 days in custody in Dominica. Arriving in the island nation on a private plane, he was received at the airport by the representatives of Antigua and Barbuda's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On July 12, Justice Bernie Stephenson of the Dominica High Court granted him bail based on the medical reports submitted in the court. While seeking bail, the PNB scam accused had attached his medical reports including the CT scan which showed "mildly worsening hematoma".
The CT scan report dated June 29 stated, "The services are not currently available on the island (Dominica). All courtesies extended to him would be greatly appreciated". As per the HC order accessed by Republic TV, Choksi was permitted to travel to Antigua and Barbuda for consulting neurologist Dr. Gaden Osbourne and has to inform the court of any change of doctor.
Moreover, the court directed him to notify the Registrar General of a change in his address in Antigua and Barbuda and his return to Dominica. Until a doctor certifies the fugitive that he is fit to stand for trial, all proceedings in the illegal entry case pending before the Magistrate's Court will remain adjourned. Choksi deposited $10,000 XCD with the HC Registrar to secure his release on bail.
Along with his nephew Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi has been accused of allegedly siphoning off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from PNB using letters of undertaking. He secured the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in November 2017 under the aegis of the Citizenship by Investment Programme and fled to the island nation in the first week of January 2018. While India formally sought Choksi's extradition in August 2018, Browne commenced the process of revoking his citizenship on October 14, 2019.
The Mehul Choksi citizenship issue gained traction again after he was reported "missing" on May 23 after going out for dinner. Four days later, the Dominican government issued an official statement confirming that the fugitive had been detained for illegal entry into the country. Thereafter, the Antigua and Barbuda PM refused to accept him back and held that the PNB scam accused can be repatriated to India on being declared persona non grata by Dominica.
Intensifying efforts to bring Choksi to book, a Bombardier Global 5000 business jet of Qatar Executive Airlines had arrived in the country with officials from the CBI and the ED on May 28. They brought with them a set of documents that sought to prove the fugitive status of the PNB scam accused before the Dominica HC. However, the special charter plane reportedly departed at 8.10 pm on June 3 after the hearing in the case was adjourned for several weeks.