Indian High Commissioner HE Venkatachalam Mahalingam, who is accredited to Antigua and Barbuda and resident in Guyana, came to St. John’s for the third time in recent weeks to engage senior Government officials on the Mehul Choksi extradition matter.
High Commissioner Mahalingam was received by PM Gaston Browne this morning at his offices, where both men held extensive discussions relating to the on-going matter of the alleged Indian fraudster Mr. Mehul Choksi, who has acquired citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda.
PM Browne was accompanied in the meeting by the Attorney-General, Hon. Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin; permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Anthony Liverpool; and Ambassador Colin Murdoch, senior advisor to PM Browne.
At the outset of the meeting, High Commissioner Mahalingam officially submitted a second extradtion request from the authorities in India, with amended charges. He was assured by the Attorney-General that the documents would be turned over to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who would be back in office shortly. The Indian diplomat and the Prime Minister engaged in extensive discussions on the nature of the offences alleged to have been committed by Mr. Choksi; as well as the media frenzy surrounding the case, especially in India.
PM Browne reiterated his Government’s full cooperation with the Indian authorities in this extradition case, while emphasizing that due process would have to be followed.
PM Browne said. ‘As a responsible Government, we will honour our treaty obligations and take the necessary legal steps to move this matter forward.’
Mr. Mahalingam then held a meeting with Mr. Liverpool in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where they pored over the documentation submitted in relation to the case and held extensive discussions on the details.
Mr. Mahalingam is expected to return to Guyana in the coming days.
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