NEW DELHI: Every person who is facing any sort of accusations is presumed innocent until a court of law pronounces him guilty, said fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi's lawyer in an official statement on Thursday.
The advocate's statement comes after Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told ANI that Choksi would be extradited after he exhausts all his appeals in the country.
"My client Mehul Choksi is a law-abiding citizen. He left India for his medical treatment and at that time there were no CBI or ED criminal proceedings pending against him nor was there anything conceived against him. He is exercising various legal remedies available in law," lawyer Vijay Aggarwal stated.
"He is not able to travel back to India due to serious health concerns. He has availed legal remedies available under Antiguan law also. Every person who is facing any sort of accusations is presumed innocent until a court of law pronounces him guilty. He is entitled to avail of all legal remedies. He shall prove his innocence in due course of time," he added.
Speaking to ANI, Browne had said that Indian authorities had the 'right' to come to Antigua and Barbuda to interrogate him. "They can come and if they wish to interview Choksi based on his willingness to participate, it has nothing to do with the Antiguan government."
Browne stated, "I can assure you that he will be ultimately deported after exhausting all his appeals. He will be extradited back to India to face whatever charges against him. It is just a matter of time".
Browne said that it is "unfortunate" that Choksi was cleared by Indian officials as a person in "good standing" only to be told later that he is a "crook".
"In any case, our officials acted based on the information from India and made him a citizen...the Indian officials have to take the responsibility for that situation," he said.
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. 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.