The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court In The High Court of Justice Commonwealth of Dominica on Friday put a stay on the repatriation of fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi from Dominica.
The court passed the order after Mehul Choksi’s legal team in Dominica filed a habeas corpus petition and pointed out that he was denied legal rights and was not permitted to meet his lawyers initially.
Habeas corpus is a writ under which a person under arrest has to be brought before a judge or into a court particularly to secure his/her release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.
“This order is to be served immediately on the Defendants by email and fax and in person, and the Head of Immigration at the Douglas Charles Airport by email and fax,” read the court order.
The court will hold the next hearing in the matter on May 28 at 9 am local time.
Mehul Choksi’s lawyer in Dominica, Wayne Marsh, had earlier stated that they were denied access to their client. He added that it was only on May 27 that Mehul Choksi was eventually allowed to speak to the fugitive businessman. In the plea, Marsh has alleged that his client sustained “marks of torture” on his body. He also claimed that Mehul Choksi was “forcefully picked up” from Antigua and Barbuda against his wishes.
“I noticed that he was severely beaten, his eyes were swollen and had several burnt marks on his body. He reported to me that he was abducted at Jolly Harbour in Antigua and brought to Dominica by persons whom he believed to be Indian and Antiguan police on a vessel he described to be about 60-70 feet in length,” Marsh told ANI.
Calling it a “travesty of justice”, he further stated that the whole country needs to speak out and as a lawyer, they would do all they can to stop Mehul Choksi’s abuse.
Choksi, who is wanted in a ?13,500-crore loan fraud in the Punjab National Bank, was last seen going for dinner in his car in Antigua and Barbuda on Sunday. His staff had reported him missing after his car was found.
On Thursday (Indian Time), the Dominica government confirmed his presence on its soil, saying he has been “detained” for illegal entry.