Antigua PM promises to hand over Mehul Choksi back to India

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Antigua PM promises to hand over Mehul Choksi back to India
Antigua PM promises to hand over Mehul Choksi back to India

New Delhi : Trouble for fugitive billionaire Mehul Choksi is set to rise as the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne has promised to extradite him to India, saying that he is a 'crook' and 'adds no value to his country'.

"I can assure you that he will be ultimately deported after exhausting all his appeals. He will be extradited back to India to face whatever charges against him. It is just a matter of time," Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda told news agency ANI in New York.

Mehul Choksi is wanted in India in the Rs. 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam. He had flown to Antigua and was granted citizenship in the Caribbean nation in January 2018. Since India has no extradition policy with the country, the officials were not able to bring him back.

Mr Browne also said that it is "unfortunate" that Choksi was cleared by Indian officials as a person in "good standing" only to be told later that he is a "crook".

"In any case, our officials acted based on the information from India and made him a citizen... the Indian officials have to take the responsibility for that situation," the Antigua Prime Minister said.

"Got subsequent information that Mehul Choksi is a crook, he does not add value to our country. He will be deported ultimately after he exhausts appeals. Indian officials are free to investigate based on his willingness to participate," Mr Browne told ANI. "They can come and if they wish to interview Choksi based on his willingness to participate, it has nothing to do with my government," he added.

India had cancelled the passports of both Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi in February on charges of huge bank loan fraud.