New Delhi: The Antigua citizenship of fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi, who is wanted in India in the Rs. 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam, will be scrapped once he has exhausted all his legal options, reported the Antigua Observer.
The revocation of citizenship will pave the way for his extradition to India to stand trial in the case.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda has made it clear that his country will not provide “safe harbour for criminals, for those who are involved in financial crimes”.
“Choksi’s citizenship was processed, he got through. We do have recourse, the reality is that his citizenship will be revoked and he will be deported to India,” the Antigua Observer reported Prime Minister Brown as saying.
When asked about a possible time frame of the cancellation of citizenship, Brown said: “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, too, and Choksi has a right to go to court and defend his position. But I can assure you, after he has exhausted all of his legal options, he will be extradited”.
Noteworthy, Mehul Choksi fled India in January last year. Six months later, it became known that he had taken Antigua citizenship. The process was completed two months before the scam surfaced in February
India had cancelled the passports of both Choksi and Nirav Modi in February after investigators uncovered the huge loan fraud at PNB. The 59-year-old has refused to return to India, saying he fears “mob lynching”.