Mehul Choksi surrenders Indian passport in Antigua

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Businessman Mehul Choksi
Businessman Mehul Choksi

New Delhi : Fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi surrenders his Indian citizenship and passport to Antigua. His shocking move seems to be an attempt to avoid extradition to India, where he is wanted by multiple agencies for loan fraud. 

Jeweller Mehul Choksi who is 59, has submitted 177 dollars with his passport (Z-3396732) to the Indian High Commission in Antigua. Officials say he has given his new address as Jolly Harbour Marks, Antigua.

Meanwhile the foreign ministry had said that Mehul Choksi could not have dual citizenship. And, Antigua is hearing India's case connecting him.

"Our government has passed Fugitive Economic Offenders bill. Those who have fled will be brought back. It might take some time but they all will be brought back," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.

To inform, India and Antigua do not have a bilateral extradition pact but the government has been trying to bring back the diamond billionaire from Antigua under a law of the island nation that allows it to send back a fugitive to a designated Commonwealth country.

It was in 2018, that Mehul Choksi was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda. In 15 January 2018, he took the oath of allegiance to that country. Nearly two weeks later, on January 29, the CBI filed a case and started investigating him and his nephew Nirav Modi.

Mehul Choksi fruad case 

Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi are accused of a Rs. 13,000 crore fraud involving fake guarantees in the name of state-run Punjab National Bank to secure loans abroad. The duo skipped from India a year ago. Sources have been informed that Choksi left the country for medical treatment in the US.

Later in December 2018, the global body Interpol put out a red corner notice against Choksi on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI's) request. 

When they Mumbai court asked Choksi to attend the proceedings, Mehul said that he cannot travel to India as he cannot suffer a 41-hour journey from Antigua because of his poor health. He also mentioned in a written statement that the Enforcement Directorate had misinformed the court by not revealing his condition and the face that he had been in touch with banks and wanted to settle his dues.