Government says it will not be bullied in Choksi matter

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CMC-The Antigua and Barbuda government says while it is prepared to cooperate fully with the Indian authorities regarding the arrest of alleged fraudster, Mehul Choksi, it will only do so in conformity with the laws of the island.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne, speaking on OBSERVER Radio here, said that the authorities here will not be forced into arresting Choksi, who has received citizenship here under the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), on the request of New Delhi.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne (File Photo)

Antigua and Barbuda is one of several Caribbean countries providing citizenship to foreign nationals who make a substantial investment in the socio-economic development of the islands.

Choksi, an Indian billionaire businessman, is wanted for the alleged fraud in India. He was granted  Antigua and Barbuda citizenship in November 2017. The diamond tycoon is the owner of the Gitanjali Group, a retail jewellery company with 4,000 stores in India.

Browne told radio listeners that “this idea that they (India) can force us to take any decision and go against the laws and constitution of our country and one in which they are trying to force the executive to meddle in the domain of the judiciary that is something that will not be tolerated”.

He said his administration is aware that a relative of Choksi is in a similar legal situation in the United Kingdom but the Indian government has not made the same demands that they are making to the government here.

“The Antigua and Barbuda government is a sovereign government. We have already signalled our full cooperation,” Browne said, noting “having said that we remain fully committed to assisting where possible”.

He insisted that the issue “is a matter for courts and I believe the Honourable Attorney General (Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin) made it abundantly clear that the matter is now in the hands of the Director of Public Prosecution.

“We are a country of laws and we have to respect the constitutional rights of our citizens,” he added.

Meanwhile, the attorney for Choksi, Dr. David Dorsett, says his client has challenged a request for a Red-corner notice by the Indian government to the International police Organisation (INTERPOL).

““Mr Choksi has … submitted to the INTERPOL reasons why a Red-corner notice should not be issued because among other things, jail conditions in India are below international human rights standards and if he returns to India, he would be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment,” Dorsett told OBSERVER radio.

Dorsett said they are awaiting a response from INTERPOL and as far as he is aware, the international police group has not issued a Red-corner notice against his client.

He said that Choksi’s submissions to INTERPOL were made on August 17 and that his client’s strategy is to attack the legitimacy of the request by the Indian government.

A `Red-corner notice is an arrest warrant circulated by INTERPOL on behalf of the government of a particular country. It is a request from one country to another to arrest and deport the wanted individual.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Just leave some of the billions here before u go to prison my friend…but please dont give molwyn,and Gaston any please….stanford is doing 110 years they did not help him

  2. If I laugh I will cry, this world ass dictator has plenty mouth. Gaston says It Will Not Be Bullied In Choksi Matter. I am wondering if this dictator is preparing his mauby pocket citizens with expensive taste for the hard times to come. Some advise for the dictator when messing with these G8 countries make sure you build your military. Start with the young men on the street corner, make it mandatory at the age of 16 to join the military. I know India is not in the G8 they are not far behind when it comes to military power. So you go ahead run your mouth like if they can’t come and get him, like how we have seen our neighbors to the north has done many times.

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