In a sensational global scoop, Republic TV on Friday learnt from no less than the Prime Minister of Antigua that fraud-accused Mehul Choksi is now residing as a citizen in the Caribbean nation and that the relevant notices that should have been put out by Indian agencies to prevent this hadn't been issued in time. Choksi then put out a statement confirming that he is now an Antiguan citizen.
Earlier, speaking to Republic TV, Antigua's PM Gaston Brown had made the following key statements:
On whether Antigua would cooperate with Indian Agencies over Choksi:
"We have an obligation to cooperate and we will cooperate."
"Now that he's a citizen, it makes it a little more complicated in that the application will take some time. And we don't have an extradition treaty with India. But whatever we can do, we will."
On Antiguan citizenship being extended to Choksi:
"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."
On Choksi applying for citizenship despite being fraud-accused:
"When the gentleman applied for citizenship there was no derogatory information on him. Ordinarily what the government of India should have done was to issue an Interpol Red Notice and an International alert. The reality is Mr Choksi was able to leave India and travel to United States and I am quite sure that if the United States had information about his alleged wrongdoing, that they would have cooperated with the Indian Government to send him back to India. So I can't see any of your media organisations in India or your government, for that matter, trying to hold my government responsible."
On attempts by India to prevent Choksi taking up citizenship of a foreign country:
"There are different programs that exist in different countries and clearly the gentleman knew that he was in trouble and decided to apply for citizenship. While the government of India may not have been as nimble as it ought to have been and disseminate the information about the gentleman."