New York, Sep 26: Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda said his country is not interested in giving shelter to fugitive billionaire Mehul Choksi, who is a “crook” as he brought no value to his country and therefore assured Choksi “will be extradited back to India”.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that Antigua and Barbuda will not harbour people like Choksi and he should face trial in India. However, he added that in Antigua executives cannot interfere in the judicial processes and hence, India will have to wait till all his legal options are exhausted, which is expected to happen very soon.
Antigua – among the many tax havens in the Caribbean – has no extradition treaty with India.
“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,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda told news agency ANI in New York.
Mehul Choksi – wanted in India in the Rs. 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam – was granted citizenship in the Caribbean nation in January 2018.
Speaking on the sidelines of the India-CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) leaders’ meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, which was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Antiguan PM asserted that Choksi will be extradited soon and that the Indian government has been apprised about the development.
Prime Minister Browne said that Choksi has brought bad name for Antigua and he must leave. “Antigua wants a friendly relation with India and this man should not be a reason for animosity between the two great nations,” Browne said.
Choksi, 60, is currently based out of the Caribbean nation and had taken Antiguan nationality in November 2017 by way of the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) in the twin-island nation. He had fled India in the first week of January 2018, just days before the scam worth Rs 13,400 crores surfaced and was reported by state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB).