Mehul Choksi won't be accepted back as a 'citizen', to be deported to India directly, says Antigua PM
Saint John's (Antigua) | Jagran News Desk: Hours after the authorities traced Mehul Choksi, who is wanted in the Rs 14,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case, in Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Thursday said that the fugitive diamantaire will be repatriated to New Delhi, adding that his government is in touch with the Indian authorities.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Browne said that Antigua will not accept Choksi back, where he has legal and constitutional protection as a citizen, adding that he has requested PM Skerrit in Dominica to not return him. He told ANI that his government has requested Indian law enforcement agencies to make necessary arrangements to have him returned directly to India.
"I am pretty sure. I am not aware that he is a citizen of Dominica and that he'd have enjoyed any constitutional protection, so on that basis it will be easy for Dominica to deport him," Browne said.
"Dominica has agreed (for Mehul Choksi's repatriation). We'll not accept him back. He made a monumental error by skipping island. Dominican govt and law enforcement are cooperating and we have informed Indian government to have him repatriated to India," he said.
"We have asked the Dominican Government to detain for entering their country illegally, to make him persona non grata, and have him deported directly to India," he added.
Choksi, who had taken a Antigua and Barbuda citizenship in 2017, had fled from the country earlier this week after a dinner. However, he was capturned from Dominica on Wednesday after the Interpol issued a Yellow Notice against him.
His lawyer Vijay Aggarwal has said that his family is relieved after the authorities traced him, adding that efforts are being made to speak to him directly so that it could be found what happened to him on Sunday.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi allegedly siphoned off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), using fraudulent letters of undertaking.
Modi is contesting his extradition lodged in a London jail after repeated denial of his bail by courts.
Choksi had taken citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 using the Citizenship by Investment programme before escaping India in the first week of January 2018. The scam came to light subsequently.
Both are facing a CBI probe.
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma