India taps Antigua for Choksi extradition

August 06, 2018 12:00 am | Updated 05:15 am IST - New Delhi

Official team visits island nation

Mehul Choksi

Mehul Choksi

India has handed over a request to Antigua for extradition of the fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi, who has obtained citizenship of the Caribbean nation.

Official sources said a team from India was sent to Antigua a few days ago to persuade the authorities there to extradite Choksi.

“The team met the Foreign Ministry officials of the island nation on Saturday and handed over the request to extradite Mr. Choksi to India,” an official source said.

Mr. Choksi is one of the alleged masterminds of the Rs. 13,700-crore scam in Punjab National Bank and is an uncle of co-accused diamantaire Nirav Modi. He is wanted in India by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate probing the fraud, the biggest banking scam in the country.

Reports say Antiguan authorities cleared his citizenship in November 2017 after India did not give any adverse report to stall his application. Mr. Choksi fled India on January 4 and took oath of allegiance in Antigua on January 15. The CBI had sent its request for extradition to the External Affairs Ministry. Mr. Choksi’s application for citizenship in Antigua in May 2017 was accompanied by clearance from the police, the Antiguan newspaper Daily Observer reported, citing a Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) statement.

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