Mon, 22 Jul 2019

St John's [Antigua and Barbuda], Jun 25 (ANI): The citizenship of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, an accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank scam, will be revoked and he will be extradited to India once all his legal options are exhausted, Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said.

"His citizenship was processed and he got through. But the reality is his citizenship will be revoked and he will be repatriated to India. So there is recourse. It's not a case that we are trying to provide any safe harbour for criminals for those who are involved in financial crimes," a local daily, Antigua Observer, quoted Browne as saying.

"We have to allow for due process. He has a matter before the court and as we said to the Indian government, criminals have fundamental rights. Choksi has a right to go to court and defend his position. But I can assure you that after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited," he added.

Recently, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had offered to provide an air ambulance and a team of medical experts to bring back Choksi, who claims to suffer from a heart ailment, from Antigua and provide him with all necessary treatment in India.

A team of specialists from Mumbai's JJ Hospital will give a report to the Bombay High Court on the present health condition of the fugitive diamantaire to ascertain whether he is fit to travel from Antigua to India for interrogation or not. They will submit the report in a sealed cover to the court on July 9.

The Bombay High Court has scheduled the matter for hearing on July 10.

On June 17, Choksi had submitted an affidavit in the Bombay High Court, stating that he is residing in Antigua and was willing to co-operate in the investigation into the PNB scam.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, who both fled the country a year ago, are key accused in the USD 2 billion PNB fraud case.

Choksi was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda on January 15, 2018. (ANI)

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