New Delhi: After Antigua was ready to “honour any legitimate request” to extradite
Mehul Choksi, India has requested that he should not be allowed to travel by air,
land or sea. Choksi was granted Antiguan citizenship last year.
According to a government source, “As soon as the Ministry of External Affairs received information of the likely presence of Mehul Choksi in Antigua, the High Commission in Georgetown alerted the Antigua and Barbuda government, in writing and verbally, to confirm his presence in their territory and detain him and prevent his movement by land, air or sea.”
In a major setback to Indian fugitive Mehul Choksi, Antigua foreign minister had assured that its government will ‘honour any legitimate request’ to extradite Choksi who became a citizen of Antigua much before the $2 billion fraud at Punjab National Bank came to the limelight.
According to a report in Antigua’s The Daily Observer newspaper, foreign minister EP Chet Greene gave the assurance after a cabinet meeting on Thursday. It is beyond
the reach of investigators to get hold of Choksi as Antigua do not have an extradition treaty with India.
However, Antigua has made it clear that they will not allow the absence of a treaty
stand in the way. The minister said, “However, if a request is received, we will honour any egitimate request made of us notwithstanding that we do not have any extradition agreements with India. That is the extent of our commitment to preserving the integrity of our (Citizenship by Investment) programme.”
Antigua’s scheme that lets the world’s wealthy pick up a second passport, however, has been sharply criticised because it is not perceived to be stringent enough.
Mehul Choksi’s surprise statement this week that he had taken up the citizenship of the twin island-nation “to expand my business interest in the Caribbean” and obtain visa-free travel access to 132 countries is seen in this context. The statement is seen as an effort to underline that the idea wasn’t to escape the law.