Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday assured India that it will fully cooperate in extraditing fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, prime accused in the Rs. 13,400 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case, as soon as the legal formalities are over, according External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
The matter was taken up when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met the Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Chet Greene on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
Greene, who had requested the meeting, told her that Prime Minister Gaston Alfonso Browne and the government were fully behind complying with India’s request for extraditing Choksi, Kumar said.
Sushma Swaraj asked that he be extradited expeditiously and Greene said there were internal legal and court procedures that had to be gone through to comply with the nation’s laws and as soon as they were taken care of Antigua would extradite him, according to Kumar.
“EAM @SushmaSwaraj met the Foreign Minister of Antigua & Barbuda Chet Greene on the sidelines of #UNGA. Mr. Greene conveyed to EAM the assurances of his Prime Minister for the fullest cooperation of their Government in the matter of extradition of Mehul Choksi to India,” Kumar tweeted.
Mehul Choksi had earlier in July claimed that he had taken the citizenship of the Caribbean island nation. He said he wanted to expand his business as the passport of the Caribbean nation provides visa-free travel to 132 countries.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had written to concerned authorities in Antigua to provide details of Choksi’s whereabouts after Antiguan authorities officially released a statement about Choksi getting a citizenship in January this year, just before the PNB scam was made public.
Mehul Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are being investigated by the ED and the CBI after it was detected that they allegedly cheated Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,400 crore with the purported involvement of a few of its employees.