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Saturday,12-June-2021

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From 90K to 26K in 6 hrs, Donald Trump lead in Penn state melting away

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In a span of barely six hours, US President Donald Trump’s lead against his Democratic rival Joe Biden has suddenly eroded in battleground Pennsylvania, with barely 26,000 votes separating the two candidates at 11 p.m. EST on Thursday night (9.40 a.m. IST Friday morning).

Trump led Biden by 90,000 votes about six hours ago. If Biden wins Pennsylvania, he wins the presidency.

Biden currently leads Trump 253-214 in the electoral vote count.

The former Vice President is winning the mail-in votes being counted now by at least 60 percent. Biden’s pace is currently good enough to do better than merely play catch up.

Philadelphia is able to return about 13,000 ballots an hour. Biden is winning the lion’s share of the votes being counted today.

Biden is projecting confidence, the campaign even had a stage ready in Wilmington, Delaware and microphones got tested – in preparation for a big announcement.

The late counting is favouring Biden heavily. These are all ballots that were not processed until Election Day, based on state law.

Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by less than a percentage point.

The Democrats are hoping to flip it and recreate their “blue wall” in the upper MidWest. They have already won Michigan and Wisconsin.

Crime

Dominica High Court denies bail to Mehul Choksi citing him as flight risk

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Indian fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi was on Friday denied bail by the High Court in Dominica, citing him to be a flight risk, local media reported.

According to Antigua News Room, a news outlet in the Caribbean island, it said, “Choksi’s application was denied on the basis that he is a flight risk, he has no ties to Dominica and the court cannot impose any conditions that will assure it that he wouldn’t abscond.”

Choksi was represented by Cara Shillingford-Marsh, Wayne Benjamin Marsh, Wayne Norde and Julien Prevost.

The 62-year-old, who is wanted in India in connection with a massive bank fraud, will appear before court again on Monday on a charge of illegal entry into Dominica.

Choksi denies the charge, and claims he was kidnapped and taken there by force.

The Indian diamantaire had gone missing from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23 sparking a massive manhunt. He was reportedly captured on May 26 in Dominica.

He is being probed in India by the CBI and the ED in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.

He has got interim relief from immediate repatriation to India by the Dominican court.

According to investigative agency sources, the Indian government has filed two affidavits in the Dominica high court establishing Choksi as Indian citizen and the serious nature of the fraud he committed on PNB.

India has also submitted detailed evidences in the affidavits.

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Crime

Antigua Cabinet discusses Mehul Choksi’s abduction claim

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The Antigua and Barbuda Cabinet held a brief discussion into Indian fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi’s abduction claim, as well as on the decisions rendered by the Magistrate and the High Court of Dominica, local media reported.

“No new information has emanated from the Dominica authorities that now hold Choksi’s fate in their hands. The authorities in Antigua continue their investigation of Choksi’s claim that he was abducted in Antigua. Since abductions and kidnappings are not crimes usually reported in Antigua, no effort is being spared to uncover all the facts in this supposed abduction,” the Antigua News Room quoted a Cabinet note as saying following the discussion.

Choksi, who is currently facing charges of entering Dominica illegally, was “unlawfully renditioned” from Antigua and Barbuda to Dominica so that he would no longer have the option of appealing to the UK Privy Council, his lawyer contended on Thursday.

Michael Polak, part of the legal team representing Choksi and an expert in providing legal assistance to foreign nationals around the world, told a virtual news conference that the team has also filed a complaint with the War Crimes Unit of the UK’s Metropolitan Police on the ground that the Indian fugitive businessman was tortured.

Describing the case as one of “egregious breach of the rule of law and fundamental fairness”, Polak said: “What happened to Choksi has been terrible. He was lured into a property, kidnapped, a bag placed over his head, beaten, forced on to a boat and unlawfully renditioned into another country.

“In Antigua, he has the right to appeal to the Privy Council in London to determine whether the government is acting properly against him. In Dominica, he does not have such protection. The motive behind the kidnapping could not be clearer.”

He further said there was sufficient evidence Barbara Jarabica and the other men involved in the incident had carried out a “reconnaissance or a failed attempt to kidnap” Choksi in April this year, adding that the fugitive businessman should be returned to Antigua.

Giving details of the abduction attempt, Polak said Jabarica, who lured Choksi to her Airbnb accommodation on May 23, had specifically asked the owner if there is a place for docking a small boat in the backyard.

Revealing chats between Jabarica and owner of the properties, Polak said she had discussed taking two adjoining properties after getting confirmation about docking place for boats.

Polak alleged that one property was used by people with her, who were part of kidnapping team.

The lawyer also claimed that soon after the kidnapping of Choksi, Jabarica left Antigua and Barbuda in a private plane to Dominica.

Choksi, who is wanted in India in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case had gone missing on May 23 from Antigua sparking a massive manhunt.

He was reportedly captured on May 26 in Dominica.

Choksi is facing the charges of entering Dominica illegally.

A Dominican High Court has restrained the extradition.

He had taken the citizenship of Antigua in 2017 and left India on January 4, 2018 days before the case came to light.

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Crime

Dominica declares Mehul Choksi as ‘prohibited immigrant’

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In a massive setback for the Indian fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, wanted in India in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, the Dominican government declared him as a “prohibited immigrant” in their country.

An order issued by the Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs on May 25 said, “in accordance to section 5(1)(f) of the Immigration and Passport Act Chapter 18:01 of the 2017 Revised laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica, you, Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, are hereby declared a prohibited immigrant.”

“I further direct that the necessary action be taken to have the said prohibited immigrant removed from the Commonwealth of Dominica in keeping with the procedure laid out in the said Act,” added the order, signed by Dominican minister Rayburn Blackmoore.

Meanehile, Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit termed Choksi as an “Indian citizen” and stated that the courts will decide what happens to the fugitive, Antigua News Room reported on Wednesday.

According to the Caribbean news outlet, Skerrit also added that the government will protect the rights of Choksi as he awaits trial.

Currently, Choksi has got interim relief from immediate repatriation to India by the Dominican court, which adjourned the matter of his detention.

Choksi had gone missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda sparking a massive manhunt. He was reportedly captured in Dominica on May 26.

Earlier, Choksi had appeared before a local magistrate in Dominica and pleaded not guilty of entering Dominica illegally.

However, Choksi’s lawyers had alleged that he was abducted from Antigua by policemen looking like Antiguan and Indian, and brought to Dominica on a boat forcibly.

The latest development is a setback for Choksi as it counters the abduction theory.

The diamantaire is wanted in India by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate in Rs 13,500 crore case. He had taken the citizenship of Antigua in 2017 and left India on January 4, 2018 days before the case came to light.

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