Dominica High Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing on a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of diamond trader Mehul Choksi, local media reported. Judge Bernie Stephenson will decide the next date of hearing after meeting both sides, Antigua News Room said.
The adjournment is to allow lawyers for Choksi and the Dominica Government ”to agree on the language to be used with respect to the injunction filed to prevent his removal from Dominica”, the media outlet reported. The hearing took place through video-conferencing with a group of protesters standing outside the High Court Building in Roseau carrying placards with messages seeking to know the truth about the controversy.
”Who brought Choksi to Dominica?” read one of the placards, the photo of which was published by many media outlets. The High Court is hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by Choksi’s lawyers.
A habeas corpus petition is filed for producing before a court a person who is under arrest or in unlawful detention. The judge had on Wednesday ordered production of Choksi before a magistrate to face charges of illegal entry into Dominica.
The 62-year-old wheelchair-bound diamantaire, having a pending Interpol Red Notice against him, arrived before the Roseau Magistrate Court in black shorts and blue T-shirt from the Dominica China Friendship Hospital where he is undergoing treatment. Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi had fled India in the first week of January 2018 weeks before a Rs 13,500 crore scam in Punjab National Bank rocked Indian banking industry.
The duo allegedly bribed officials of the state-run bank to get Letters of Undertaking on the basis of which they availed from overseas banks which remained unpaid. Choksi had mysteriously gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda where he has been staying since 2018 as a citizen.
He was detained in neighbouring island country Dominica for illegal entry after a possible romantic escapade with his rumoured girlfriend. His lawyers alleged that he was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour in Antigua by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian and brought to Dominica on a boat.