The request for extradition of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi is being “examined” by Antigua and Barbuda, the Ministry of External Affairs said Thursday. Answering a question on Choksi, MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar at a briefing said, “According to the information that I have, the extradition request by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and the ED (Enforcement Directorate), is being examined by them (Antigua and Barbuda authorities) and after they have examined it, they have said they will convey their response to India.”
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had met Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda E P Chet Greene last month on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and raised the issue of extradition of Choksi, who is currently in the Caribbean island. Greene had conveyed to Swaraj the assurances of his Prime Minister for fullest cooperation of their government in the matter of extradition of Choksi to India, Kumar had said after the meeting.
Choksi is one of the alleged masterminds of the USD 2 billion scam in state-run Punjab National Bank and is an uncle of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi. He is wanted in India by the CBI and ED probing the fraud. On a question on absconding businessman Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, Kumar said that in the case of Nirav Modi, extradition requests from the CBI and ED are pending with the UK authorities. “The requests are under consideration,” he said. “We are committed to take this matter forward and to bring back the economic offenders,” he said. On Mallya, he said the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has fixed December 10 as the date for verdict in the case.