Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted in India for purportedly draining off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the State-run Punjab National Bank.
Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, 62, arrested in Dominica on Wednesday, will be repatriated to Antigua and Barbuda, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the country revealed to WIC News today.
There was speculation that Choksi, who had allegedly fled Antigua some days ago, would be surrendered to India to face fraud charges against him. However, he will now be sent back to Antigua and Barbuda, where he holds citizenship.
“Choksi would be charged with illegally entering Dominica and by the rule of law, he will be sent back to his home country Antigua and Barbuda, where he holds citizenship for the past four years,” The officials told WIC News.
The officials also confirmed that Choksi had entered the country through seaways. The Caribbean Island of Dominica is often used as an illegal route to countries like Cuba and the seven United States by illegal immigrants, reported WIC News.
Earlier, Choksi’s lawyer, Vijay Aggarwal, said that legally, as per Section 17 and 23 of the Immigration and Passport Act, Mehul Choksi can only be deported to Antigua.
In a statement, Advocate Aggarwal said, “As per the Indian Citizenship Act, Section 9, the moment Mehul Choksi acquired the citizenship of Antigua, he ceased to be a Citizen of India. Hence, legally, as per Immigration and Passport Act Section 17 and 23, he can be deported only to Antigua.”
He further said that he thought it was ‘fishy’ now; no one was looking into how exactly Choksi reached Dominica. It has to be done legally, Choksi’s lawyer said further, adding that this was not a game of chess.
“We are dealing with a human being. Not a pawn that can be placed here or there and it cannot be on somebody’s desires and whims. Further, as per the universal declaration of human rights there are international covenants on voluntary repatriation and a person can be deported to only the country of their citizenship,” added his lawyer.
In an exclusive interview to ANI on Wednesday, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne said fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who has been found in Dominica, will be repatriated to India, and Indian governments are in touch with those in Dominica.
Browne said Dominica has settled on Choksi’s repatriation, and Antigua will not authorize him back. Browne said he had requested PM Skerrit and the law regulator in Dominica not to return Choksi to Antigua, where he can attain legal and constitutional security as a citizen.
An immense search was initiated after Choksi went missing, and Antigua and Barbuda released an Interpol Yellow Notice. He was tracked and caught in neighboring Dominica.
In January 2018, he escaped from India for the USA, just a few days before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered an FIR against Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi, and others.
Choksi and his nephew committed India’s biggest banking scam and allegedly swindled off Rs 7,080.86 crore, and the remaining was siphoning off Rs 13,500 by Nirav Modi.
While Nirav Modi is in a London prison after repeated denial of bail and is struggling to exile to India, Choksi had taken the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017 using the Citizenship by Investment program before fleeing India in the first week of January 2018.
Who is Mehul Choksi?
Born on May 5, 1959, in Mumbai, he completed his education at GD Modi College in Gujrat’s Palanpur. His father named Chinubhai Choksi was a diamond trader and was operating Gitanjali Gems. It is being said that Mehul Choksi always wanted to be a big businessman.
Mehul Choksi is the fraudster along with his nephew Nirav Modi in the alleged Punjab National Bank Fraud Scam. They are suspected of colluding with two employees of Punjab National Bank (PNB), the country’s second-largest state-owned lender, in an alleged $1.8 billion fraud.
What is the Matter?
In 2016 and 2017, the Gitanjali Group of companies’ profits suffered a tremendous loss, and to deal with this, Choksi and Modi planned a plot to siphon off money from state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB).
Both purportedly bribed a PNB employee named Gokulnath Shetty to forge the letter of undertaking, after which they siphoned off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the PNB in 2017.
Sensing that he will be grabbed by the probe bureaus one day, Choksi contrived to get an authorization report from Mumbai Police in the same year, declaring that he has no continuing criminal case upon him in India.
According to the CBI, Choksi is currently engaging in two cases in Antigua associated with his citizenship and his extradition to India. He had fled India after obtaining citizenship in 2017 in Antigua, where moneyed foreigners can become citizens in exchange for investing there.
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