NEW DELHI: India has handed over a request for the extradition of bank fraud fugitive Mehul Choksi to Antigua and Barbuda. Choksi has obtained citizenship of the Caribbean nation.
According to official sources, a team from India was sent to Antigua few days ago to meet the authorities there to have Choksi extradited. “The team met the foreign ministry officials of the island nation on Saturday and handed over the request to extradite Mehul Choksi to India,” an official said.
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 Nirav Modi. He is wanted in India by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, which are probing the fraud, the biggest banking scam in the country.
Reports have claimed that Antiguan authorities approved his citizenship in November 2017 after India did not provide any adverse report to stall his application. Choksi had fled India on January 4 this year and took the oath of allegiance in Antigua on January 15.
The CBI had sent its request to the Ministry of External Affairs for extradition of Choksi. As per reports, Choksi's application for citizenship in Antigua in May 2017 had along with it clearance from the local police as required by norms.
Choksi and his companies allegedly availed credit from overseas branches of Indian banks using the fraudulent guarantees of PNB given through letters of undertaking (LoUs) and letters of credit issued by the Brady House branch which were not repaid, bringing liability on the state-run bank, the officials have said.