Mehul Choksi is no longer a citizen of India

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Posing fresh complications for India, absconder diamantaire Mehul Choksi, one of the prime accused in the US$ 2 billion  Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, has surrendered his Indian citizenship in favour of Antigua Barbuda Isles in the West Indies, official sources said on Monday.

Choksi, 59, acquired his new citizenship in 2018 and then subsequently deposited his cancelled Indian Passport No. Z3396732 and a mandatory fee of $177 for the other formalities, with the Indian High Commission in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

The Indian High Commission in Cooperative Republic of Guyana is also accredited to the Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis.

Contacted by IANS in Mumbai, Choksi’s lawyers declined to comment saying they were no longer in touch with him.

Sources in the national capital said that despite the latest developments, the Indian government will continue its pursuit of Choksi with the government of Antigua & Barbuda through diplomatic and legal channels.

Choksi, along with his 47-year-old nephew Nirav Modi, are among many others charged with conniving with certain bank officials to dupe the PNB of over Rs 13,500 crore by issuing fake Letters of Undertakings (LoUs) to their group companies through the PNB’s flagship Brady House Branch.

The development could present new hassles for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which was hoping for his extradition along with Nirav Modi and other relatives who are believed to be holed up in different countries.

Weeks before, the PNB first admitted to the massive scam on February 14, 2018, Choksi and Modi besides many of their family members had surreptitiously fled the country, virtually catching the investigating agencies napping.

Before the fraud exploded in the public domain, the PNB had already lodged complaints with the Enforcement Director (ED) and the CBI in Mumbai seeking their help.

As per the PNB’s admission, a total of more than 1,200 LoUs were issued to Choksi, Modi and their relatives and group companies with the CBI chargesheet in Mumbai naming them plus other employees, top PNB officials and executives.

The ED and CBI cracked the whip with raids on the homes, offices, factories of all the accused in Maharashtra, Gujarat and other locations in the country, issued Look Out Notices, InterPol Red Corner Notices, suspended the passports of many of the accused, attached their residential business properties, and initiated other measures to pressurise and make them return to face the Indian laws.

In the latest initiative, last weekend, the government dismissed two PNB executive directors K.V. Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan for alleged failure to exercise proper control over the bank’s functioning, procedural lapses by ignoring Reserve Bank Of India’s advisory to link Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) with the Core Banking Solutions (CBS) systems of the bank.

In August 2018, the Centre had sacked Allahabad Bank’s Managing Director and CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian in connection with the Choksi-Modi frauds when she was serving as the latter’s (PNB’) MD-cum-CEO.

16 COMMENTS

    • Choksi is innocent. He has been politically framed and setup by a corrupt Indian government. It is time for Antiguan’s to be more protective of its new citizens, particularly in cases of political asylum. It’s too bad this guy is being dragged through mud, because its clear he is innocent.

      • Real ratas ,you are a fake and blind.Why Anttigua must protect him he need to go back and clear his name if he is claiming innocent what the fear.

  1. Why do we continue to shield this fugitive? Only bringing the name of Antigua further in disrepute. People cannot commit crimes and then run to adopted countries for shelter. We should have cancelled his CIP passport from the moment that this fraud and allegations was uncovered. I guess we are waiting to get some of the millions he skimmed off for national development so we are holding out.

    • He has not been proven guilty of anything, and in fact, he is a victim of a political persecution. Antigua is a country of due process and laws, you cannot just revoke citizenship just because allegations are made against you!

  2. The usual fake news. So all one needs to do is surrender a passport and you are no longer a citizen? What happens when I lose it or the court demands I surrender it as a bail condition? There is a specific procedure for renouncing Indian citizenship. There is a renunciation form which has to be filled out and reasons for the decision stated. Indian officials will have to examine the form and make a decision on whether to accede to the request. Information on the procedure can be found in an artcile entitled, Rules changed for acquiring OCI and renouncing Indian citizenship, Oct 24 2018, by Vivek Kumar (ANR does not like links in comments)

      • Indian citizenship is automatically terminated on taking up another citizenship. India constitution does not allow for dual citizenship. What Choksi did was turn in his passport which is optional and the responsibility of the passport holder. Choksi did not renounce his citizenship, it was automatically revoked when he became the fugitive Antiguan.

        • Brethen I know you will hold to your own opinion no matter what, but I did some research on this matter when the case first broke. I went as far as providing the url which outlines the steps for revocation. Brethen its not as simple as your just getting another passport. Fact is there are many Indians with dual citizenship . Revocation initiated by Indian authorities calls for an actual hearing and involves persons being notified/served. As far as him initiating it, I have already provided the article which you could simply google. However, I note you have chosen to not do so and instead be your usual argumentative self.

  3. An Antiguan commiits a crime in India that if it was committed in Antigua would also be a crime in Antigua.

    Base on international agreements India wants the Antiguan to answer the claims. I see no road blocks there.

    Canada has arrested a Chinese citizen to hand him over to the US to answer claims put by the US justice system.

    This may make the process much swifter particularly if the government cooperates with India.

  4. WHY BE CONFUSED?

    Speaking from ‘…professional knowledge of the law and practical experience in enforcing it, let sentimentality not fool you.

    Yes, a suspect might be wanted for a crime or several crimes, but ‘…Is the crime robbery the same as fraud?’

    Each bears no relationship to the other. Respecting the discussions, change of nationality has ‘…absolutely nothing to do with criminality.’

    If it were so, then the ‘…British national’ accused of rape would never have been extradited from the United Kingdom, let alone slapped with a rape charge.

    Simply put, the Indian law enforcement authorities are not interested in nationality- Indian or Chinese; …Antiguan or Guyanese; or …Vincentian or Japanese, ‘…but only, and only a criminal ( alleged fraudster).

    None can successfully argue or dispute this fact.

  5. Choksi is innocent, simple as that. India is a corrupt country and the banks there are even worse. If they have losses, they just look for their biggest borrowers to blame everything on. I am happy that Antigua is protecting Choksi, just as it should protect ALL Antigua citizens from big country bullies.

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