India confirms giving clean chit to Choksi

“The Police clearance certificate from the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, certified that there was no adverse information against Mr. Mehul Chinubhai Choksi which would render him ineligible for grant of travel facilities including visa for Antigua and Barbuda,” said CIU explaining that Mr. Choksi’s application was received in May 2017. CIU is responsible for granting citizenship of the island country in exchange of financial investment.

Antigua’s statement is a follow up to Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s July 28 declaration that nothing negative was found against Mr. Choksi at the time he was registered as a citizen of Antigua.

The statement titled ‘facts’ on the Mehul Choksi case came just hours before the Central Bureau of Investigation, in a communication, pleaded with the Antiguan authorities to extradite the Punjab National Bank fraudlent LoUs case co-accused Mehul Choksi, citing principles of reciprocity and dual criminality, in the absence of any bilateral treaty between the two countries.

The agency has also attempted to make a case for extradition under the United Nations Convention against Corruption. However, the primary allegation against Mr. Choksi is that of cheating. He, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, who is the crucial character in the case, is alleged to have swindled more than Rs. 7,000 crore of the bank. Officials cited the case of gangster Abu Salem as relevant, while explaining CBI’s hope for extraditing the diamond trader. Despite repeated efforts, the CBI has failed to get an Interpol Red Notice issued against Mr. Choksi. The CBI reiterated that it had not received any request from Antigua for antecedent verification.

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