The Parliamentary Opposition has urged Government to bring an end to the “embarrassment” being suffered by Dominica in the international community on account what the opposition has described as its apparent collusion in the May 23rd, 2021 abduction of wanted Indian diamond trader Mehul Choksi in Antigua and Barbuda and his alleged forced removal to Dominica.
Choksi, a 62-year-old Indian fugitive who was allegedly received at sea by Dominica police officers from his abductors and brought into the country against his will, is before the local court defending prosecution for illegal entry into Dominica and seeking a ruling that he has been unlawfully imprisoned.
He 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.
Choksi is the subject of an Interpol Red Corner Alert, who is already at the mercy of the justice system in Antigua and Barbuda where he resides as a citizen by investment and is challenging, in the High Court, an extradition request from India and a bid to revoke his Antigua and Barbuda citizenship.
In a media statement dubbed “Time to end the Mehul Choksi embarrassment on Dominica’s image”, Leader of the opposition, Lennox Linton says he believes that the behavior of the Cabinet of Ministers and the law enforcement authorities in Dominica is making a mockery of the judicial system in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) and “disgraces Dominica as a rogue element in the family of nations willfully undermining the rule of law foundation for the advancement of civility in the global community.”
He said these cases snail through the court process, the injury to Dominica’s image as a responsible member of the family of nations intensifies.
“The justice systems of Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica are under the jurisdiction of the ECSC. His alleged misdemeanor in India notwithstanding, it is a crime against humanity to violently remove Mr. Choksi from his constitutional rights and rule of law protection in one part of the ECSC jurisdiction to another part for the benefit of those who want to short-circuit the extradition proceedings for his return to India,” Linton stated.
The Opposition Leader further points out that according to Interpol, a Red Corner Notice (RCN) is not an international arrest warrant but a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.
He said given pending legal action in Antigua and Barbuda to have Choksi extradited to India, the RCN for Choksi does not have the same effect there as it does in Dominica where he is a stranger.
“That is exactly what the ruling party politicians of India, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica hoped to exploit for a speedier return of the diamond trader to India. But we are rule of law people; rule of law governments; and rule of law countries in the global community,” Linton said. “Let Mehul Choksi and all the citizens of the world enjoy the protection, privileges and sanctions of the rule of law. Let due process take its course.”
The opposition leader said it is time to stop this unnecessary scandal in Dominica’s international affairs and that simply means ending the court matters in Dominica with a consent order by Mehul Choksi and his Dominican prosecutors that he is returned to Antigua and Barbuda without further delay.