Antigua to revoke Mehul Choksi’s citizenship: PM says economic offender will be extradited to India after he ‘exhausts all legal options’
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Alfonso Browne seems to have lastly relented and agreed to revoke the citizenship of financial offender Mehul Choksi, who, alongside together with his nephew diamantaire Nirav Modi, is accused of defrauding Punjab Nationwide Financial institution (PNB) of over Rs 13,500 crore.
Choksi had obtained citizenship of the Caribbean island nation beneath an funding programme in November 2017. At the moment, nevertheless, Browne’s Cupboard colleague and the nation’s International Minister EP Chet Greene had opposed granting Choksi citizenship, saying that the scheme was not meant for “the scoundrels of the world”.
The legal investigation initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) shortly after the PNB rip-off broke in January 2018 has come to hang-out Choksi, who is about to be stripped off Antiguan citizenship.
Browne’s newest assertion belies the Antiguan regulation that claims citizenship can solely be scrapped, pending conviction.
“His (Choksi’s) 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,” Browne mentioned in a press release. “It’s not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes.”
“We have to allow for due process. He has a matter before the court, and as we told 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.”
Sources within the Indian authorities mentioned the cancellation of Choksi’s citizenship was an inner matter of the Antiguan and Barbudan authorities, and it might have little bearing on his extradition, which is a separate course of altogether.
The ED has accused Choksi of cash laundering beneath the Prevention of Cash Laundering Act. Three of his corporations had allegedly fraudulently obtained Letters of Understanding to the tune of Rs 30 billion and later obtained the credit score restrict enhanced to Rs 31 billion. His abroad corporations had been allegedly used to funnel funds, and a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued in opposition to him for being “an economic offender and absconder”.
Choksi has, nevertheless, maintained that every one allegations levelled by the ED are fake and baseless. His defence: “The PNB is squarely liable for the lapses, and I have been made a scapegoat. I don’t know the exact financial details as there were officers in my company who dealt with these matters.”
Choksi’s authorized counsel is prone to mount his defence on the bottom that the fugitive businessman is “apprehensive” that he could possibly be “denied correct and necessary medical treatment” as soon as he’s arrested and extradited to India.
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