As Mehul Choksi's bail hearing approaches in Dominica, his wife Priti Choksi spoke to Republic TV on Wednesday, maintaining that her husband will soon be sent to Antigua and not India. Refuting Choksi's 'friend' Barbara Jabarica's claims that Choksi was headed to Cuba and stopped in Dominica, Priti Choksi said that 'he had no reason to leave Antigua'. Countering Queen's Counsel and senior advocate Harish Salve's claims of early deportation, she said that the Caribbean nation had a thorough rule of law and would follow due process in the fugitive diamantaire's case too.
"You do not go to Dominica to go to Cuba, you do pass through the Dominican Republican. My husband was well-settled here in Antigua and was fighting cases against him. He had no reason to leave Antigua. Why this Jabarica has suddenly surfaced with Hindi-movie dialogues? I don't know. The investigation is ongoing and the truth will come out," said Priti Choksi.
When asked about Choksi's possible deportation to India directly, she said, "The rule of law in these Caribbean nations are very strong and they believe in due process. As per the law, my husband should be back in Antigua & Barbuda. He is being held on a charge of illegal entry into Dominica".
On Monday, Salve weighed in on the strategy to ensure the deportation of Mehul Choksi to India. He will await the PNB scam accused's bail hearing in the Dominica High Court and appear in the case virtually if he is granted permission. Hinting that the fugitive can be deported soon, he said, "I don't have that kind of experience of Dominican courts but I think hopefully we should be talking weeks rather than months".
Mehul Choksi purportedly went "missing" after going out for dinner in Antigua island on May 23 and could not be traced even though his vehicle was traced in the Jolly Harbour later. Following a yellow notice alert, Dominican authorities arrested Choksi for allegedly illegally entering the country via Toucari Beach. While Choksi is seeking to be repatriated to Antigua where he enjoys citizenship, Antigua PM Gaston Browne has now refused to grant him entry in Antigua and asked the Dominican government to directly deport him to India. An eight-member team of the CBI, the ED, and the Ministry of External Affairs had flown to Dominica to pursue the case for Choksi's deportation, but have now returned to India.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, have been accused of allegedly siphoning off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the Punjab National Bank (PNB), using letters of undertaking. Owner of the Gitanjali group, a retail jewellery company, Choksi 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 and India formally sought Choksi's extradition in August 2018. While the UK has ordered Modi's deportation, Choksi is currently housed in Dominica-China Friendship Hospital under police guard after being denied bail.