The government has tightened the noose around fugitive Punjab National Bank scam accused Mehul Choksi who is currently in Antigua. According to reports, as soon as reports in the media about Choksi's presence in Antigua were flashed, the government alerted the Antigua and Barbuda government and asked the country's authorities to detain him.
The government also told the Antiguan authorities to prevent Choksi's movement from land, air or sea. Meanwhile, officials of the Indian High Commission are also likely to meet government officials in Antigua while lodging a formal request to take action against Mehul Choksi.
"As soon as MEA received info of likely presence of Mehul Choksi in Antigua, Indian envoy alerted the local govt, in writing and verbally, to confirm his presence in their territory and detain him and prevent his movement by land, air or sea," a report in Indian Express quoted Ministry of External Affairs, as saying.
The fugitive diamantaire has claimed he had taken Antigua citizenship last year to expand his business as the passport of the Caribbean nation provides visa-free travel to 132 countries, local media in Antigua reported.
In a statement issued by his attorney David Dorsett on the diamantaire's behalf, Choksi said there was no truth in the allegations levelled by the Indian government, the Daily Observer, a newspaper in Antigua, reported.
Nirav Modi and Choksi are being investigated by the ED and the CBI after it was detected that they allegedly cheated the Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,400 crore with purported involvement of a few of the lender's employees.
The scam, which reportedly began in 2011, was detected in January this year.
(With inputs from agencies)