Indian businessman files appeal against High Court ruling

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Jul 10, CMC – An Indian-born businessman facing extradition to his homeland, has filed an appeal against a High Court ruling denying him permission to bring in an expert to challenge the validity of the extradition request from New Delhi.

“We had before the court an application to adduce expert evidence on Indian law as to exactly when did it became lawful for India to make extradition requests of Antigua. The judge, Justice Rita Olivetti denied the application and we indicated to the court that we would want leave to appeal her decision,” attorney Dr. David Dorsett said on a radio programme here.

Mehul Choksi (File Photo)

He said as a result of the filing of the appeal on Monday, the extradition proceedings against his client, Mehul Choksi, have been put on hold.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has already said the citizenship of the billionaire diamond trader would be revoked only after he exhausts all his legal options.

Choksi, who is wanted in India for allegedly defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB), gained citizenship of the Caribbean island under the island’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) that allowed for foreign investors to make a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of Antigua and Barbuda in return for granting citizenship.

Browne said that Choksi’s citizenship was processed, “but the reality is his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India; so there is recourse. It’s not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes”.

“We have to allow for due process. He has a matter before the court and as we said to the Indian government, criminals have fundamental rights, too, and Choksi has a right to go to court and defend his position. But I can assure you, after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited,” Browne said.

Dorsett has indicated that should his appeal fails, he is prepared to take the matter before the London-based Privy Council, the island’s highest and final court.

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ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Jul 10, CMC – An Indian-born businessman facing extradition to his homeland, has filed an appeal against a High Court ruling denying him permission to bring in an expert to challenge the validity of the extradition request from New Delhi.

“We had before the court an application to adduce expert evidence on Indian law as to exactly when did it became lawful for India to make extradition requests of Antigua. The judge, Justice Rita Olivetti denied the application and we indicated to the court that we would want leave to appeal her decision,” attorney Dr. David Dorsett said on a radio programme here.

Mehul Choksi (File Photo)

He said as a result of the filing of the appeal on Monday, the extradition proceedings against his client, Mehul Choksi, have been put on hold.

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne has already said the citizenship of the billionaire diamond trader would be revoked only after he exhausts all his legal options.

Choksi, who is wanted in India for allegedly defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB), gained citizenship of the Caribbean island under the island’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) that allowed for foreign investors to make a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of Antigua and Barbuda in return for granting citizenship.

Browne said that Choksi’s citizenship was processed, “but the reality is his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India; so there is recourse. It’s not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes”.

“We have to allow for due process. He has a matter before the court and as we said to the Indian government, criminals have fundamental rights, too, and Choksi has a right to go to court and defend his position. But I can assure you, after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited,” Browne said.

Dorsett has indicated that should his appeal fails, he is prepared to take the matter before the London-based Privy Council, the island’s highest and final court.