Mehul Choksi a crook, to be extradited to India: Antigua PM

FE Online
Mehul Choksi extradition

Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said that fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi will be extradited to India after he exhausts his appeals. Speaking to news agency ANI in New York, Browne called him a crook and added that Indian officials are free to come and interrogate him.

"Got subsequent information that Mehul Choksi is a crook. He doesn’t add value to our country. He will be deported ultimately after he exhausts appeals. Indian officials are free to investigate based on his willingness to participate," he told ANI.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are prime accused in Rs 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank scam. While Nirav fled to Britain, Chokshi fled to Antigua to escape legal proceedings against them in India. Choksi was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda earlier this year.

Earlier in July, the Enforcement Directorate had attached Choksi’s properties, including three commercial buildings in the United Arab Emirates worth Rs 24.77 crore. The attached items also included some valuables, a Mercedes Benz E280 car and fixed deposit account. According to the ED, out of total proceeds of crime against Choksi worth Rs 6,097.73 crore, the agency has so far attached and seized properties worth Rs 2,534.7 crore.

Both Choksi and Nirav are being probed by the CBI and ED. Nirav Modi, 48, is currently lodged in a London jail. He was arrested from Holborn on March 19. Recently, a UK court extended the judicial custody of fugitive diamantaire till October 17.

The ED had earlier sent the extradition request and a Red Corner Notice was also issued against Choksi on the request of agency.

Choksi, 59, had earlier refused to return to India to face the legal proceedings, apprehending lynching by mob. He had argued that he has left India for his medical treatment abroad. He had even moved the Bombay High Court and said that he is willing to join the probe if his interrogation was held in Antigua or via video conferencing. The ED had, however, rejected his plea and said that he has to return to India for questioning.