Mehul Choksi Surrenders His Indian Passport to Antigua AuthoritiesTop Stories

January 21, 2019 19:07
Mehul Choksi Surrenders His Indian Passport to Antigua Authorities

(Image source from: The Indian Wire)

Indian fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, ahead of the extradition treaty hearing, surrendered his Indian citizenship and handed over his passport to Antigua authorities on Monday.

According to reports, this measure is as seen as part of his plan of action to impede the hearing proceedings.

India has sought Choksi’s extradition from the Caribbean nation of Antigua, where he is currently based. Earlier this year, after reports surfaced that Choksi may have taken refuge in Antigua, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua & Barbuda confirmed that diamond trader was granted citizenship in November 2017.

India has been making an effort to bring back Choksi from Antigua under the provision of a law of the island nation that provides for deportation of a fugitive to a designated Commonwealth country. Choksi faces various charges in India accompanying USD 2 billion Punjab National bank.

The team in India led by a senior official on August 3, 2008, from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) handed over a request to Antigua for the extradition of Choksi who received citizenship of the island nation.

"We have been told that they (Antiguan authorities) are examining the (extradition) request," MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, responding to a volley of questions on the issue during a media briefing.

Following a complaint by the PNB that Indian diamond jewelry businessman Nirav Modi and Choksi allegedly cheated the nationalized bank to the tune of Rs 12,000 crore, both of them are being probed by the ED and other agencies after the bank fraud.

The Chief Bureau of Investigation and the ED have registered two First Information Reports (FIRs) each to probe the case. Both Modi and Choksi left the country before criminal lawsuits were registered against them.

The investigation is being carried out by Enforcement Directorate, a central probe agency under the union finance ministry if the allegedly defrauded bank funds were laundered and proceeds of crime were later on used by the accused to make over illegal possessions and black money.

-Sowmya Sangam

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Mehul Choksi  Antigua