The Antigua and Barbuda government will extradite fugitive businessman Mehul Chokshi to India soon, confirmed the Island nation's Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Tuesday, the Antigua Observer reported. According to reports, Antigua is all set to revoke the citizenship of Choksi after he exhausts all his legal options.
"It is not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes," the Prime Minister said."India waits for Antigua's internal process of revoking citizenship. Only after that extradition process can start separately. India continues to engage with Antigua. MEA is yet to hear officially from Antiguan govt about revoking of citizenship," Govt sources said.
The revocation of citizenship of Antigua of Choksi will pave the way for his extradition to India to stand trial in the case.
"His citizenship was processed; he got through but the reality is his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India; so there is recourse. It's not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes," Antigua PM added.
Fugitive Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted by the ED and CBI for allegedly defrauding Public sector-- Punjab National Bank (PNB) of worth Rs 13,400 crore. Nirav Modi is currently jailed in London and is facing extradition case to India.
In early 2018, both Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi fled the country before the multi-crore fraud came to light.
"We have to allow for due process. He has a matter before the court and as we said to the Indian Government, criminals have fundamental rights, too, and Choksi has a right to go to court and defend his position. But I can assure you, after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited," Mr. Browne said.
Recently, Mehul Choksi has approached the Bombay High Court and told that he left India for medical check-up and not to avoid prosecution in the case. At present, Choksi holds citizenship of the Caribbean nation of Antigua.