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Mehul Choksi All Set to Get Extradited from Antigua: Another Victory for Modi-plomacy

Author : Odisha Today Bureau | Posted on: 2019-06-25

Antigua PM Gaston Browne has agreed to revoke the citizenship of PNB scam kingpin Mehul Choksi after pressure from India.

 

Prime Minister Browne said the citizenship of the billionaire diamond trader will be revoked by the Caribbean country after he exhausts all his legal options and  also said that he would be repatriated to India and Antigua was not trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals.

 

Choksi, 60, had taken nationality of Antigua and Barbuda in November, 2017 using Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) of the twin island nation. He fled India in the first week of January last year, days before scam worth Rs 13,400 crore was detected and reported by state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB).

 

Choksi, promoter of Gitanjali Gems, and his nephew Nirav Modi, who is currently in a London jail, are wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI for allegedly masterminding the biggest banking fraud of India.

 

Browne said the government of Antigua and Barbuda will make it a priority to ensure individuals who benefit from the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme undergo intense scrutiny. Browne said due diligence will be done to ensure that criminals do not use the twin islands as a refuge.

 

However, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said he does not have any information on Antigua and Barbuda revoking Choksi’s citizenship. “I do not have information on the matter, I would not like to comment on it,” he said when media questioned.

 

India continues to pursue Choksi's return with the Government of Antigua through diplomatic and legal channels.  New Delhi has already sent an extradition request to the country. Mehul Choksi had surrendered his Indian passport to the High Commission in Guyana in January of 2019.

 

On Monday, the Bombay High Court asked Choksi to submit his medical reports to a hospital in Mumbai for cross-examination to determine if he is in a position to travel. Choksi had cited poor health as a reason for not coming to India from Antigua.

 


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