‘Did not evade Indian authorities, left country only for treatment’, claims Mehul Choksi – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Mehul Choksi has said he has invited the Indian authorities to interview him and claimed that he left India only to seek medical treatment. “I am a law-abiding citizen,” he has declared.
“I have extended an invitation to Indian authorities to interview me and ask any questions that they may have of me in relation to any investigation that they are conducting against me,” the 62-year absconding Indian jeweller has said in an affidavit filed before the Dominica High Court. “I did not evade law enforcement in India. There was no warrant against by the law enforcement authorities in India when I left India to seek medical treatment in the United States of America.” TOI is in possession of the eight-page signed submission.
Choksi fled India in January 2018, just days before his name was to surface in the Rs 13.500 crore PNB scam and settled in Antigua. He has not returned since, facing investigation by CBI, ED and other Indian agencies on charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and dishonesty, corruption and money laundering.
In the deposition, filed on June 3, he has also declared that he has no intention of absconding and claimed that the Red Corner Interpol notice is not an international warrant and merely a request to facilitate surrender. He was responding to the prosecution charge that he is a flight risk and is engaged in extradition proceedings in Antigua connected to crimes alleged against him in the state of India.
“I have no intention of absconding from attending court in Dominica… The presence of the Red Notice does not make me a flight risk. The Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant. It is merely a request by Interpol on behalf of India to locate and take steps to facilitate my surrender to India through extradition proceedings. The proceedings have already commenced in Antigua and Barbuda. Therefore, I do not intend to leave Dominica unless to travel to Antigua with the permission of the court,” Choksi said appending a document to the affidavit, explaining the purpose of the Red Corner notice from the Interpol website.
“There are two pending cases (both filed by me) before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Antigua and Barbuda to determine whether I should be extradited to India. I have diligently attended every one of my court sessions in Antigua… I am a law-abiding citizen and have no previous convictions,” Choksi said attaching a copy of his citizenship, which he obtained in 2013.
In the affidavit, the wanted fugitive diamantaire also gave a blow-by-blow account of his alleged abduction on May 23, alleged the role of government authorities in Dominica and claimed that his health problems will worsen if he is denied bail. “I fear that my health may drastically decline if I am kept in police custody. I am 62 years old and have serious health problems. I am a diabetic, have a brain clot, have heart problems and other medical issues,” he said seeking bail.
Choksi faces charges of illegal entry into Dominica but says he will not flee the country till the case is disposed of. “If required I am willing to provide cash bail in a reasonable sum… I am able to afford living accommodation in Dominica until the hearing and determination of this charge of illegal entry. I am also able to afford my own security and so do not need any security from the State,” he has submitted.


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