New Delhi: Following massive diplomatic pressure from India, Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that his government has decided to revoke the citizenship of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi. Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which are probing Rs 13,4000 core PNB fraud, the biggest banking scam in the country.
Speaking to a newspaper, Browne said that Choksi has exhausted all his legal options, he will be repatriated to India. “Choksi’s citizenship was processed, he got through. We do have recourse, the reality is that his citizenship will be revoked and he will be deported to India,” the PM said.
He added,”Presently the matter is before the court, so we have to allow for due process. We have conveyed to the Indian government that criminals also have fundamental rights and Choksi has a right to go to court to defend his position. But I can assure you, after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited.”
The development comes days after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) offered to provide an air ambulance and a team of medical experts to bring back the fugitive diamantaire from Antigua. The central agency had assured to provide him with all the necessary treatment in India.
Slamming the affidavit filed by Choksi as a ‘facade’, the ED’s counter-affidavit read: “The medical reasons and conditions appear to be facades being erected merely to mislead the court in an obvious attempt to delay the lawful proceedings. We are ready to provide an expert medical team along with an AIR ambulance to bring him from Antigua to India under medical supervision.”
Choksi was given several opportunities to join the probe but he evaded every time. “He (Mehul Choksi) never cooperated in the investigation. A non-bailable warrant was issued against him. A Red Notice was issued by the Interpol. He has refused to return, he is, therefore, a fugitive and an absconder,” the ED stated.
Choksi and nephew Nirav Modi are key accused in the PNB fraud case. They fled India in 2018. Earlier this year in January, Choksi took oath of allegiance in Antigua.