MEA clarifies on police clearance certificate to Choksi

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New Delhi : The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday said the police clearance certificate (PCC) issued to Mehul Choksi -- wanted in the Rs 13,500-crore Punjab and Sind Bank fraud and who has now taken citizenship in Antigua -- by the Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, "was as per extant instructions".

In response to queries after the Antiguan government said that citizenship was granted to Choksi in the Caribbean nation after it received a PCC from the Mumbai passport office, Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the PCC was issued on the basis of a clear police verification report (PVR) available on his passport.

"All passport issuing authorities can issue a PCC if there is a clear PVR in the system," Kumar said.

"In case there is no PVR, then a fresh PVR is obtained prior to issuance of a PCC," he stated.

"As the PVR of Mehul Choksi was clear in the system at the time of issuance of PCC, the process followed by the Passport Office, Mumbai, was as per extant instructions."

Kumar also said that the PCC was issued to Choksi for Antigua and Barbuda in March 2017.

The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua and Barbuda, in a detailed statement said the Antiguan citizenship authority received the businessman's application in May 2017 with necessary documentary requirements, including a PCC.

"The said PCC from the government of India, Ministry of External Affairs' Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, certified that there was no adverse information against Mehul Chinubbhai Choksi which would render him ineligible for grant of travel facilities including visa for Antigua and Barbuda," the CIU statement said.