Ending speculations, top officials in the central government have confirmed to CNN-News18 that a plane has been sent to Dominica to bring back fugitive economic offender Mehul Choksi.
A private plane was deliberately hired from a third country. “We didn’t want to use an Indian plane due to technical reasons,” sources further revealed.
This flight was chartered from Qatar and came to Delhi on May 27. From Delhi, it flew to Madrid with Indian officials where it halted for refuelling and proceeded to Dominica.
The officials are also carrying documents in case there is need to tell court or local authorities that Choksi is an Indian citizen.
“Officials flew to facilitate emergency certificate needed at the immigration of Dominica and with case details in case court at some stage wants India to become party,” said sources.
Commenting on photos of Choksi, which showed him bruised and with a swollen eye, sources said: “All allegations of physical attack on Choksi are wrong. He is making a human rights case which is absolutely wrong and false.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne told a radio show in his country that India sent a private jet to Dominica, carrying documents related to the deportation of Choksi.
Browne told the radio show that the jet came from India carrying necessary documentation needed for deportation of the businessman.
Publicly available data of Qatar Executive flight A7CEE shows that it left the Delhi airport at 3:44 pm on May 28 and reached Dominica at 13:16 local time on the same day, via Madrid.
The Dominica High Court has stayed the removal of Choksi from its soil and put a gag order on the developments till the matter is heard in an open court on June 2.
Choksi has alleged that he was abducted from Jolly Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda by policemen looking Antiguan and Indian, and taken to Dominica.
Purported pictures of 62-year-old Choksi that have surfaced in Dominica show him with a red swollen eye and bruises on his hands.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted for allegedly siphoning Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) using letters of undertaking.
While Modi is in a London prison after being repeatedly denied bail and is contesting his extradition to India, Choksi took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 using the Citizenship by Investment programme before fleeing India in the first week of January 2018. The scam came to light subsequently.
Both are facing a CBI probe.