Deeply embarrassed by the clean chit by Mumbai police and slip ups by many concerned authorities, India has now handed over a request to Antigua for extradition of Mehul Choksi. He is charged in connection with India’s biggest banking fraud, and is now reportedly living in the Caribbean nation after allegedly taking its citizenship. Thus thwarting India’s plans to get him back to India to face trial.
As per reports, Antiguan authorities cleared Choksi’s citizenship in November 2017 after India did not give any adverse report to stall his application for it.
Choksi had fled India on January 4 this year and took oath of allegiance in Antigua on January 15. His citizenship was cleared in November 2017.
Choksi’s application for citizenship in Antigua in May 2017 was accompanied with clearance from the local police as required by norms, Antiguan newspaper the Daily Observer reported, citing a statement from the Citizenship by Investment Unit of Antigua and Barbuda (CIU).
It noted the police clearance certificate (PCC) from the Regional Passport Office in Mumbai said that there was no adverse information against Choksi which would render him ineligible for grant of travel facilities including visa for Antigua and Barbuda.
Official sources said a team comprising officials from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and other agencies was sent to Antigua a couple of days ago to request the Antiguan authorities to extradite Choksi, wanted in India in the USD 2 billion Punjab National bank scam.
“The team met the Foreign Ministry officials of the Caribbean nation yesterday and handed over the request to extradite Choksi to India,” an official source said.
The team, led by Additional Secretary in the MEA’s Consular and Passport Division here, also presented details of the case against Choksi who is one of the alleged masterminds of the scam along with his nephew Nirav Modi.