PNB fraud accused Mehul Choksi to be extradited to India after due process: Antigua PM
In a major victory for the investigating agencies, the Antigua Prime Minister has said that Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud accused Mehul Choksi may be extradited to India after he exhausts all legal options available with him.
The 60-year-old and his nephew Nirav Modi, who is currently in a London jail, are wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI for allegedly defrauding the PNB to the tune of Rs 13,400 crore.
Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the citizenship of the billionaire diamond trader will be revoked by the Caribbean country after he exhausts all his legal options.
“His 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. It’s not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes,” Prime Minister Browne was quoted as saying by the Antigua Observer on June 24.
“We have to allow for due process. He has a matter before the court and as we said to 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,” he added.
Last year, both Choksi and Modi had fled the country after the multi-crore PNB fraud came to light.
Choksi had earlier told the high court that he left India for medical treatment and not to avoid prosecution in the case. He also assured the court that he would return to India as soon as he is medically fit to travel.
In response, the ED recently told the Bombay High Court that it was ready to provide an air ambulance to bring Choksi to India.