‘Detain Mehul Choksi & Prevent His Movement’: MEA To Antiguan Govt
“Our (Indian) High Commission in Georgetown had alerted the Antigua and Barbuda Government, in writing and verbally, to confirm his (Mehul Choksi) presence in their territory and detain him and prevent his movement by land, air or sea”: sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said.
This comes almost five days after news broke that diamantaire Mehul Choksi is in Antigua and also possess the local passport.
The ministry also informed that Choksi’s Indian passport was revoked in February 2018, after he was booked for the Punjab National Bank scam worth Rs 13,000 crore.
The sources in the ministry further added:
“Our High Commissioner is meeting the relevant authorities in Antigua and Barbuda on Monday, 30 July. We continue to liaise with relevant Government of India agencies and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to follow up on this matter.
There are some questions that are yet to be answered:
- Did the Antigua and Barbuda government contact the Indian authorities and agencies via Interpol before issuing the Antiguan passport?
- Isn’t Choksi liable to be prosecuted under the passport rules of India which do not allow dual citizenship – since Choksi got the Antiguan passport in November 2017, without surrendering the Indian passport?
Nirav Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi has confirmed through a statement released by his lawyer, David Dorsett, on 27 July that he has “decided to reside in Antigua and Barbuda.”
In a one-page statement, published by Antigua’s local media – The Daily Observer, on Thursday, 26 July, Choksi denied all the allegations against him.
“I can say categorically that there is no truth in those allegations, and on the advice of my lawyers – including Dr David Dorsett of Watt, Dorsett & Company – I will not say anything more with respect to those allegations.”
‘Antiguan Citizenship to Expand Business’
Mehul Choksi also stated that he “lawfully applied” for the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda under the “Citizenship by Investment Program”. He further added that he left India to expand his business in Antigua.
“My application was motivated by my desire to expand my business interest in the Caribbean and to obtain visa-free travel access to 130 or so countries. That remains my reason for choosing to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda.”
He also outlined his reason for leaving India in January:
“In January 2018, I had need to visit the United States to receive medical treatment. Having received treatment I am still in a state of convalescence. That being the case, I have decided to reside in Antigua and Barbuda, the country of my citizenship, and to abide by the laws of the country, as is the duty of every citizen.”
The Quint had earlier reported that investigating agencies have not issued a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Choksi yet, although the Interpol has already issued the RCN against Nirav Modi on 2 July.
Both Choksi and Modi are wanted in the Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, yet for lack of an RCN issued against Choksi, he is free to travel to any part of the world.