Mehul Choksi’s lawyers say he missed court date in Dominica due to mental stress

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Roseau [Dominica]: Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi failed to appear in Magistrate’s Court in Roseau for the commencement of the trial against him over his illegal entry into the Caribbean country, because he was suffering from mental stress and experienced high blood pressure, his lawyers informed the court.

The case of Choksi, who has been booked on charges of illegally entering the Caribbean nation, was heard by Chief Magistrate Candia Carette-George at the Magistrate’s Court in Roseau.

The prosecution, led by Dominica’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sherma Dalrymple, told the court that it is “ready to proceed to trial”, Antigua News Room reported.

Dalrymple also took the opportunity to introduce the addition of Indian lawyer Harpreet Giana to the state’s team of prosecutors.

However, Mehul Choksi failed to appear in court on June 14 for the commencement of the trial.

Instead, his lawyers presented a medical certificate signed by a doctor from the Dominica China Friendship Hospital where Choksi has been undergoing treatment for the past two weeks.

The medical certificate says that Mehul Choksi was a “no show” in court since he was suffering from “mental stress” and experienced high blood pressure.

Chief Magistrate Carette-George later adjourned the matter. It will now be heard at 9 am (Caribbean time) on June 25. The judge has also ordered for Choksi to be brought to court on June 17 for further remand.

Mehul Choksi will remain under police guard as a patient at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital until the next date of the trial.

Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on May 23 after going out for dinner and was soon caught in Dominica. He was charged with illegal entry by the police in Dominica after he allegedly escaped from Antigua and Barbuda in a possible attempt to evade extradition to India.

The 62-year-old fugitive is wanted in India in connection with a Rs 13,500-crore fraud in the Punjab National Bank (PNB).

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