In a big diplomatic win for India and major setback for fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, the Government of Antigua has stated that his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India.
Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne has released a statement saying that Antigua and Barbuda citizenship of fraudster Choksi will be revoked in short order, Antiguan media reported.
“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,” Gaston Browne said as per the report.
He further added that the Antiguan government is in touch with the Indian government and has assured that after Choksi has exhausted all legal options available to him, he will be extradited back to India.
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," Gaston Browne added.
Choksi was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda on January 15, 2018. He has been living in this country since 2018 after fleeing from India.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has offered to provide an air ambulance and a team of medical experts to bring back Mehul Choksi from Antigua and provide him with all necessary treatment in India. The central agency further stated that Choksi has never cooperated in the investigation into the PNB scam.
Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi along with Nirav Modi has been absconding from India. They are the main accused of defrauding India's second largest state-run bank PNB to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore.
(With agency inputs)