In a big development in the Mehul Choksi extradition case, India has sent a second extradition request on Monday morning to the Antiguan government. Republic TV has received a confirmation about the same and also learnt that Antigua will discuss the extradition treaty in a big meeting shortly. In fact, Antigua and Barbuda Law Minister Steadroy O Benjamin spoke exclusively with Republic TV’s Deputy News Editor Ankit Paliwal and 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
The Antigua and Barbuda Law Minister also confirmed that the meeting will be held in next hour.
On when should India expect a response from Antigua, O Benjamin said, “This is a long drawn process, it’s like the same process in India. The DPP will views the documents, he will see or not whether this is the case to be answered and then the matter will be dealt with. And, if at the end of the day, he comes to a conclusion, and I believe that Mr Choksi will challenge the decision. It’s not an overnight matter at all. You can ask any lawyer about extradition in India, extraditions are not matters which can be dealt in 24 hours. There are procedures to be followed and each of those procedure requirements will followed by Antigua and Barbuda as well.”
Earlier on August 27, web portal newsroompost.com had put out details of Mehul Choksi’s Antiguan passport. The issue date of the document was said to be November 16, 2017. The document showed that Choksi’s passport is valid for 5 more years as the expiry date on it was November 15, 2022. The passport raised question as to how did Choksi get the passport issued in the same month that he applied, that is November 2017.
Antiguan and Barbuda government had told Republic TV that Choksi applied for citizenship in November 2017 and that he took the citizenship oath in 2018.
On the same day, CBI had written to Antigua government to arrest Mehul Choksi. In the letter, the CBI said that no Red Corner Notice is needed to arrest Mehul Choksi as that is used to identify the location of the accused, and Choksi’s location is already known and so is his nationality. The CBI asked the Antigua government to start with the extradition process. The CBI had sent the letter through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The CBI’s letter was in response to Antigua’s doubts as to no Red Corner Notice was issued against Mehul Choksi.
This came after India’s first request to Antigua to extradite Mehul Choksi, who obtained the Caribbean nation's citizenship, following which the law minister of the country said that the extradition will be delayed as the prosecutor was unavailable till August.