The Dominican Republic on June 9, 2021, declared fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi as a ‘prohibited immigrant’ for illegal entry into the country. Choksi is wanted in India for the Rs 13,500 crore PNB scam case, India’s biggest banking scam.
Choksi had gone missing from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23, 2021, under mysterious circumstances. He had to reside in Antigua and Barbuda as a citizen since 2018. Two days later on May 25, he was detained in the country of Dominica for illegal entry. Lawyers of Choksi alleged that he was abducted from Jolly Harbour in Antigua and brought to Dominica on a boat.
An order dated May 25, 2021, by the Dominican Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs that declared Mehul Choksi as a prohibited immigrant also directed the police to immediately remove Choksi from the Commonwealth of Dominica in accordance with Section 5 (1)(1) of the Immigration and Passport Act.
The order further stated that the Chief of Police has been instructed to take all necessary actions to have you repatriated.
Who is Mehul Choksi?
• Mehul Choksi is a fugitive businessman who, along with his nephew Nirav Modi is wanted in India for the Rs 13,500 crore PNB scam case. Choksi is wanted in India for criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy, cheating and dishonesty, corruption, money laundering, delivery of property.
• A Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in March 2018 had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi and Neeshal Modi.
• Mehul Choksi fled India in January 2018, few months before the PNB scam came to light. The government of India has been working on getting him extradited to India.
• Choksi was currently living in Antigua and Barbuda as a citizen.
What does repatriated mean? How is it different from extradition?
• The order dated May 25, 2021, by the Dominican Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs further stated that the Chief of Police has been instructed to take all necessary actions to have you repatriated.
• Repatriation means the process of sending the fugitive back to the country they fled. The Antigua and Barbuda government prefers that Choksi be repatriated directly to India from Dominica.
• Extradition is a formal process conducted by the governments of different countries to bring back or hand over the fugitives to the country they fled from so a trial can be carried out. Extradition is conducted by a bilateral or multilateral treaty between countries.