In what is a major push by the Indian government seeking to extradite PNB fraud co-accused Mehul Choksi from Antigua back to the country, a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries has been confirmed.
At the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will meet a host of senior leaders from different countries on September 26, which will include a bilateral meet with the Antiguan counterpart.
Sources have indicated that India will raise the issue of speedy extradition of economic offender Mehul Choksi which earlier Antigua Govt had said it is ready to consider.
In July this year, Antigua government had confirmed that Mehul Choksi had shifted to their country, and became a citizen of Antigua. "I want to make it abundantly clear that when the gentleman was extended citizenship there was no Interpol Red Corner notice on him. The government of India did not file any such notice. So he applied just like any ordinary citizen, satisfied the due diligence requirement and became a citizen of this country," Antigua PM Gaston Browne had said.
A month later, Choksi's Antiguan passport was accessed by newsroompost.com. While speaking to Republic TV, the news portal's editor Sandeep Sehgal said, ""The passport has been issued on November 16, 2017. The passport is valid up till November 2022, which mean something is fishy. How can this be possible as he applied in 2017, and got the passport in the same year and the same month. Our sources in Antigua have said that Choksi is in there."
Earlier this month, the Indian government sent a second extradition request to the Antiguan government. Republic TV had received a confirmation about the same and had also learnt that Antigua will discuss the extradition treaty in a big meeting.
Antigua and Barbuda Law Minister Steadroy O Benjamin spoke exclusively with Republic TV’s Deputy News Editor Ankit Paliwal and had said that Antigua will look into the two requests made by India, seeking Choksi’s extradition.
“The DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) will look into the matter and see what is appropriate. We are following the due process that is in place in India, Australia and all other Commonwealth countries. So, he will take action immediately because we intend to work on our treaty obligations and act in accordance with the law,” said Steadroy O Benjamin