Extradition request for Mehul Choksi could be examined this week

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The Antigua and Barbuda government will, this week, examine India’s request seeking extradition of alleged fraudster Mehul Choksi, days after New Delhi submitted a second such appeal to the Caribbean nation, a media report said.

The Antigua government has assured India that its law enforcement agencies are observing his movements, The Economic Times reported.

Choksi is a citizen of the Caribbean country.

The Indian High Commissioner in Guyana, Venkatachalam Mahalingam, visited St. John’s, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda on 30 August, for the third time in recent weeks, to meet senior government officials on Choksi’s extradition, Antiguan media reported.

A file photo of Mehul Choksi. News18

Mahalingam was reportedly received by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, and both held extensive discussions on the extradition of the fugitive Indian businessman.

Browne was accompanied by senior officials of his country, including Attorney-General Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anthony Liverpool; and Ambassador Colin Murdoch who is a senior advisor to Browne, reported the Antigua News Room.

The website claimed that Mahalingam submitted a second extradition request from Indian authorities, with amended charges. The Attorney-General assured Mahalingam that the documents would be put in the hands of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Mahalingam, who also had extensive discussions with the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was assured of the full support of the Antigua and Barbuda government by the prime minister.

The high profile meeting took place after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through the Ministry of External Affairs, wrote a letter to authorities in Antigua, asking them to arrest Choksi, who controls Gitanjali Gems.

A massive scam was detected by Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) officials earlier this year, after Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi allegedly cheated the lender to the tune of two billion dollars.

India is trying to bring back Choksi from Antigua under the provision of a law of the island nation, which provides for the extradition of a fugitive to a designated Commonwealth country.

With inputs from ANI

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