CBI considers sending team to Antigua to expedite Mehul Choksi’s extradition
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has announced that it is considering sending a team to Antigua to negotiate the extradition of the fugitive jewellery tycoon Mehul Choksi.
“In July last year, Antigua and Barbuda expressed reservation stating that the citizenship to Choksi was granted based on a Police Clearance Certificate issued by the Regional Passport Office, Mumbai and documents received from the Sebi in 2017,” a senior CBI official told ET Bureau. “However, they assured us to relook at the request once the RCN is issued and now with the RCN in place, they have orally agreed to help the CBI in getting Choksi to justice. A team might be shortly visiting the twin Caribbean island nation.”
“The purpose of the visit would be to present its case before the appropriate authority and also fight the extradition legally,” explained the official. “Last year, we had sent an extradition request under the provision of UN Convention against Corruption to which both Antigua & Barbuda and India are signatory to. This will be our starting point. The fact that the country has agreed to bring its citizen to book is a big diplomatic victory.”
Choksi took citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda through the investment route before news of his accused fraud at the Punjab National Bank (PNB) broke at the start of 2018. Choksi first refused to return to India to stand trial due to fears for his life and now cites health reasons for his failure to attend court summons. However, this new development could be a breakthrough in India’s attempts to bring Choksi to stand trial. Choksi’s nephew and fellow accused, Nirav Modi, has recently been confirmed as residing in the UK and the CBI is also working on his extradition.
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