Trouble for Mehul Choksi: Antigua to revoke citizenship, extradite him to India soon
In fresh trouble for fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, the Antiguan government on Tuesday has decided to revoke the citizenship. Antiguan PM Gaston Browne in a statement said, "His citizenship was processed; he got through but the reality is his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India; so there is recourse. It’s not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes."
"Presently the matter is before the court, so we have to allow for due process. We have conveyed to the Indian government that criminals also have fundamental rights and Choksi has a right to go to court to defend his position. But I can assure you, after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited," said the Antiguan Prime Minister.
According to government sources as reported by ANI, India will wait for Antigua's internal process of revoking citizenship. Only after that extradition process can start separately. "India continues to engage with Antigua. The MEA is yet to hear officially from Antiguan government about revoking of citizenship."
External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said. "I do not have information on the matter, I would not like to comment on it."
Mehul Choksi is one of the prime accused in the Rs 12,700 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud. Choksi, along with his nephew Nirav Modi and his family, fled the country in January 2018, days before PNB unearthed the biggest banking scam of India. Choksi, currently based in the Caribbean nation of Antigua, filed an affidavit Monday through his advocate Vijay Aggarwal, stating he had left the country in January 2018 for getting medical check-up and treatment abroad.
In a letter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) dated March 16, 2018 Choksi said he was extremely held up in his business abroad and was working hard to resolves the issues it is facing due to the “unnecessary closure of business in India” due to “untenable allegations”. He then surrendered his Indian passport and took up Antiguan citizenship.