After Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi should be sent back directly to India, New Delhi is likely to utilise diplomatic channels to bring him back.
Notably, Mehul Choksi, 62, who is sought by Indian agencies in connection with the Rs 14,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, had recently gone missing from Antigua—a Caribbean island nation to which he fled in 2018 after the scam came to the fore.
On Tuesday night, he was found in the neighbouring Dominica, where he was arrested. He was captured after an Interpol yellow notice was issued against him. A yellow notice is issued by Interpol to track missing persons.
Antigua wants Choksi’s deportation to India
Reportedly, Browne told local media that he has given “clear instructions” to the Dominican authorities to repatriate Choksi to India. “We asked them not to repatriate him to Antigua. He needs to return to India where he can face the criminal charges levelled against him,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by local media.
Easier to extradite Mehul Choksi
India is hopeful that Choksi extradition from Dominica, where he tried to enter illegally, will be easier now considering India’s good relations with the tiny island nation. Notably, the Union government had recently sent one lakh COVID-19 vaccines to Dominica under the Vaccine Maitri initiative.
According to Antigua’s prime minister, Choksi will not have the same rights in Dominica as he has in Antigua and Barbuda, where he had been staying since 2018 after taking citizenship in 2017 under the Citizenship by Investment programme. Due to this, Browne believes, it would be easy for Dominica to repatriate him directly to India.
Mehul Choksi fled India
After the over Rs 1,400 crore Punjab National Bank fraud came into the limelight, Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi, and uncle Mehul Choksi fled from India. Later, red corner notices were issued by Interpol against all the three fugitives. Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi are already fighting extradition to India. The Enforcement Directorate that is probing the scam has already seized several assets of these fugitive businessmen.
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