Choksi pleads not guilty to illegal entry into Dominica; matter adjourned

Choksi being wheel-chaired into court

Mehul Choksi, an Indian fugitive who has been in Dominica for over one week, pleaded not guilty to illegal entry at his court appearance today.

The 62-year-old is wanted by the Indian judicial authorities for allegedly cheating the Punjab National Bank of almost two billion US dollars, India’s largest bank fraud in decades.

The circumstances surrounding the mysterious appearance of the Indian fugitive on a remote beach in Dominica still remains a mystery.

Whilst his attorneys alleged that he was kidnapped, beaten and unwillingly brought to Dominica, the police claim that he entered the shores illegally and have since preferred the charge against him.

According to the charge read to Choksi in court, it is alleged that on May 24, 2021, he did enter Dominica illegally at Toucari Beach.

At the hearing, State Attorney Sherma Dalrymple pleaded with the court to not grant bail to the accused as she deemed him a “flight risk.”

The Prosecutor listed two grounds for her claim which included the fact that Choksi has an Interpol Red Notice against him as he is facing charges for 11 offences in India. Additionally, she revealed that the Antiguan government is currently undergoing court proceedings to have Choksi extradited.

Dalrymple further argued that Choksi has no ties in Dominica hence it would serve him no purpose not to flee the island if bail is granted.

However, one of the defendant’s attorneys, Wayne Norde, refuted the Prosecutor’s grounds for objection and informed the court that the Indian fugitive is not a flight risk considering the condition of his health.

Norde stated that the Interpol Red Notice and the extradition proceeding in the Antiguan court provide more reason for Choksi not to leave Dominica.

He advised the Magistrate that stringent conditions can be added to the fugitive’s bail condition and proposed a bail sum of EC$10,000.00, double the maximum penalty for illegal entry, which Dalrymple asked the court not to consider.

Norde noted that section 4 of the new bail act indicates that a defendant is entitled to bail as a right unless the offence is of a serious nature.

“Various non-nationals in Dominica are on bail for similar matters, so we are of the view that bail can be granted to our client with or without conditions to his bail,” he contended.

The attorney further informed the court that Choksi had no pending criminal matter in Antigua, the country in which he attained citizenship in 2017 but a civil matter which demonstrates that he is of good character.

In handing down her decision, presiding Magistrate Candia Carrette-George sided with the Prosecutor and stated that given the “severity” of the matter, she is not convinced that Choksi will remain in Dominica to attend his trial.

Bail was denied and the matter was adjourned to June 14, 2021, in the Roseau Magistrate court.

Choksi was further admitted to the Dominica China Friendship Hospital (DCFH) where he has been a patient since May 29. Once he is discharged from the facility he will be placed in police custody.

Earlier today, the High Court began Choksi’s Habeas Corpus matter which is expected to continue in court tomorrow.

Choksi enters police vehicle after leaving magistrate court

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30 Comments

  1. En Ba La
    June 5, 2021

    if we knew better
    The man applied for citizenship after. Antigu may want to revist this do you not think so.

    i would want to think it can be revoked. He possibly may have lied about his crime and being wanted applying early enough before it could be found in records but late enough after the fact.
    extradition treaty would get him out dont you think? There is an individual or individuals in the US
    i guess the details are being worked out to have him back

    Caricom or OECS having one treaty i know it is a legal issue with caricom passport would solve this dont you think?

    • En Ba LA
      June 5, 2021

      here is an individual or individuals in the US who the defrauded fake diamonds and were suing.

  2. KS
    June 4, 2021

    Corruption Corruption Corruption

  3. Jonathan Y St Jean
    June 4, 2021

    @ElizabethLinXavier, don’t you also think that the issues of the vessel which brought him into the country illegally, the other persons on the vessel who were allowed to sail away are also material to the matter at hand? There are procedures to be followed and when steps are brazenly not done and the wise public starts asking questions, then the plot thickens. If the man was kidnapped and brought to Dominca against his will, then he can’t be guilty. The police who arrested him better say something too. You are right, ‘You authorities of Dominca” is the correct expression. Why haven’t the authorities made an address to the citizens about this unfolding and complicated saga. When three sovereign countries are at the center of a strange episode it can’t be a simple matter of send him back to Antigua. The court has to weigh the information before deciding the correct course of action. Don’t you believe in the rule of law?

    • June 6, 2021

      Why are you writing all of this to me? All I want to read is that this man is out of our homeland, however he got there. But isn’t the lawyers, who are with your group, the ones defending him, such as the one who claimed he should stay in Dominica to protect him from extradition from Antigua to face his crime in his homeland? Enlighten me, please.

  4. %
    June 4, 2021

    @ Hocuspocus
    Lennox cannot be silenced!
    He speaks truth to power!

  5. LifeandDeath
    June 4, 2021

    This situation, appalling as it is, is just a mild testament of the level of corruption to which this Skerrit led DLP administration goes.
    Why has the boat Captain not been part of the investigation? There is evidence of physical abuse on the man, he has no motivation at all to be in Dominica, let alone under these circumstances and yet the Government ignores all of this and decides that he must be charged for something.
    This is a Circus court, we all know who the ring master is. Where is the confidence and integrity in our National Leadership. This says soooo sooo much about us as a Nation and a people.

  6. Malatete
    June 4, 2021

    The Qatari jet departed DOM las night for Madrid ( Barajas airport), where arrived this morning at 09.25 local time and departed again at 10.59, direction Turkey.

    • Malatete
      June 4, 2021

      Aircraft back in Indian airspace, en route to Delhi, arrival imminent.

  7. Talk2me
    June 4, 2021

    Is Choksi to decide where he wants to go, cause he got millions. And our boys dem love money. Or, he could a million for my country’s passport. Only thing is, my country won’t see that money.

  8. Massacre
    June 4, 2021

    What kind of court system do we have in Dominica that allows a man to be held for illegally interring Dominica and there as no argument about the conditions under which he entered? 1) How did he enter? By sea or air? What was the vessel’s name and who owned it? Who captained or piloted it? How was he intercepted and by whom? Where are the other people who accompanied him? He said he was beaten ? By whom? A court supposed to bring clarity to every case and as I see it, this magistrate is a hired hand. Sad state of affairs in Dominica when the court system seems to be bought as well. The DLP leadership has it’s hands all over this mess.

  9. Hocuspocus
    June 3, 2021

    Free Lennox padner

    • %
      June 4, 2021

      @ Hocuspocus
      Lennox cannot be silenced!
      He speaks truth to power!

  10. June 3, 2021

    Send him to Trinidad or Guyana where he can melt into the crowds of Indian indentured labourers. The Winward Island team has been doing so badly that we might need an Dominican-Indian cricketer added the cricket team. lol.

  11. KID ON THE BLOCK
    June 3, 2021

    So THEY agree to accept crooks and criminals here in Dominica now because THEY hear he has mucho dinero.
    That reminds me of the Algezeera and St. Kitts episode boy.

  12. AA
    June 3, 2021

    The Wrong man is in court….Skerrit is the One who should be in custody.

  13. Ibo France
    June 3, 2021

    It’s totally UNACCEPTABLE for the Skerrit led government to remain thunderously silent on this international, scandalous Choksi conundrum that is gravely tarnishing Dominica’s reputation. This is the epitome of DISRESPECT.

    Imagine tax payers’ money is being used to house Choksi in Dominica and they(citizenry) are puzzlingly being kept in the dark.

    Again, I ask this question. Why does Dominica have to take the fall for something that initially they had no business in? This should be an issue exclusively between Antigua & Barbuda and India.

    Here is at he billion dollar question. Is Roosevelt Skerrit a lapdog of Gaston Browne? Seems so to me.

    • Truth Be Told
      June 4, 2021

      Who tell you is something that they, Dominica, had no business in? It ever occurred to you that Dominica and India arranged this with Antigua?

    • KID ON THE BLOCK
      June 4, 2021

      Dominica is pleading for MERCY under/ from people like you, Ibo Malaprop France.

    • If we knew better
      June 4, 2021

      You speak reasonable sense Ibo France.

  14. Antigua
    June 3, 2021

    SEND HIM BACK TO ANTIGUA!!. He is a citizen of Antigua, which is the country that he departed from (willingly or unwillingly), so logic dictates that he should be sent back there. Dominica is going to suffer a lot of negative fallout internationally from this fiasco, and the only ones who on the surface will seem to benefit is Antigua.

    • En Ba LA
      June 3, 2021

      This thing is that India does not accept dual citizenship and the Indian Bureau of Investigation is in Dominica waiting to take him back. They are not acknowledging his Antiguan Citizenship. Had this man gotten Antiguan citizenship before he was charged in the BIGGEST BANK FRAUD CASE in India, he most likely would have been living in Antigua and denounced his citizenship but he was already on the run after he acquired Antiguan citizenship.

      Their entire Diamond company went UNDER. He does not have dinero – THEY USED TO BE BILLIONAIRES – they have fallen. FRAUD.

      • If we knew better
        June 4, 2021

        that has nothing to do with his civil rights and citizenship staus. He is an antiguan citizen, whether India accepts it or not. Antigua has granted him citizenship. Yes he will be tried in India at some point in the future, but that is between Antigua and India.

    • June 4, 2021

      @Antigua, I agree with you, you have got it right on, my friend.

      I don’t understand why do they have this man in court, even claiming not guilty to the charges against him; did they expect him to plead guilty to that charge?

      My question now is, what are they going to do with that plead? Are they going to keep him here going back and forth in court? Come on now! You authorities of Dominica.

  15. Truth Be Told
    June 3, 2021

    Dominicans you all like to call the name of God and all you want to go to heaven while living the lie, being hypocrites and afraid of the truth! All of you who are attempting to protect and cover for the failed Labour Party of Antigua and Labour Party of Dominica, are you all afraid of the truth? Here is the truth about your Governments and the criminally infested Citizen by Investment Programme CBI. Take a close look at the truth. Remember when Ali Reza Monfared ran from Iran with billions and he had Dominica passport and living in Dominica under the protection of the Government of Dominica? Do you remember “My Dominica Trade House Dot Com”? Do you remember the pictures of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his Wife Melissa Skerrit cutting Dominica cake with the criminal? You all bow you all heads to pretend like you cannot see! Dominicans and Labourites in particular, you are all accomplices to the criminal behaviour by our politicians, you are all guilty! Voleur epi Soutiwez!

  16. Truth Be Told
    June 3, 2021

    The clever fox, Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antiguan, has set up the Caribbean regional joker Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit with his rotten egg which is now stinking up Dominica internationally. The collusion and collaboration on this matter by the Labour Government of Dominica with the Labour Government of Antigua, with Senior Council in the background pulling their strings is causing grave damage to our islands! Yet, Dominicans will try to blame everyone else but their Labour .rime Minister!

    • If we knew better
      June 4, 2021

      Amen. I agree. Our “Leader” needs to speak candidly to the nation.

  17. Imputing Improper Motives (IIM)
    June 3, 2021

    R v Larsonneur (1933) 24 Cr App R 74.

    Larsonneur, a French citizen was returned to the UK after the Irish Free State issued a deportation order against her, but she was not immediately repatriated to France but instead back to the UK, the last port from which she had entered the country.

  18. Xianglung
    June 3, 2021

    So my tax dollar have to be feeding choksi….. hell no.

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