The Prime Minister of Antigua, Mr. Gaston Browne, has agreed to revoke the citizenship of billionaire Mehul Choksi after massive diplomatic pressure from India.
Fugitive Mehul Choksi's citizenship was earlier processed in Antigua and he managed to get through. However, sources say his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated back home to face trial.
The Antigua PM said it is not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour to criminals and those who are involved in financial crimes. He also said that once Choksi has exhausted all his legal options, he will be extradited.
'Choksi's citizenship was processed, he got through. We do have recourse, the reality is that his citizenship will be revoked and he will be deported' the PM has said. 'Presently the matter is before the court, so we have to allow for due process. We have conveyed to the Indian government that criminals also have fundamental rights and Choksi has a right to go to court to defend his position. But I can assure you, after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited,' he said.
Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are key accused wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly defrauding the Punjab National Bank of Rs 13,400 crore in collusion with a few employees of the nationalised bank.The multi-crore fraud came to light in early 2018 but both had fled the country before that.
Choksi told the Bombay High Court recently that he left India for medical check-up and not to avoid prosecution in the case.Choksi, currently based in the Caribbean nation of Antigua, filed an affidavit Monday through his advocate Vijay Aggarwal, stating he had left the country in January 2018 for getting medical check-up and treatment abroad.The Enforcement Directorate had told the Bombay High Court that it was ready to provide an air ambulance to bring the diamantaire for trial.