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Last Updated : Jan 28, 2019 12:10 PM IST | Source:

Antigua govt denies reports of Indian team being sent to pick up Mehul Choksi

An official from Antigua's PMO said that his government would wish him (Choksi) gone, as he “brings nothing to Antigua but unwanted publicity”

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No Indian team is headed to Antigua to catch fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi, the Antiguan government has said according to a report by The Times of India.

The Antiguan government was reacting to reports that a special long-range Air India flight had been booked to fetch a high-value target from abroad.

Earlier, a report by news agency IANS had suggested that a long-haul Air India jet, which has been pulled out of the fleet, will carry a team of investigating officers tasked to get hold of the fugitives, including Choksi.

There reports that the flight was bound for Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

However, the reports were denied by Antigua. Talking to the newspaper, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst, chief of staff in Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s office, said, “I have not been informed of any team coming to Antigua from India.”

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The official said that his government would wish him gone, as he “brings nothing to Antigua but unwanted publicity.”

Talking about the extradition process, he said, Choksi “brought the matter before the high court, but he lost. He, however, has a right of appeal which I am sure he will exercise. If the matter is still before the courts, he cannot be extradited.”

Choksi, one of the alleged masterminds of the $2 billion scam in state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) and uncle of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, had fled India in early January 2018 and took oath of allegiance in Antigua on January 15, in the same year.

Also read | Choksi will be brought back to India: Rajnath Singh

Choksi, later in the same year, took citizenship of Antigua. Last week, he surrendered his Indian passport to the High Commission in Guyana.

Meanwhile, India continues to pursue Choksi's return with the government of Antigua through diplomatic and legal channels.

In August 2018, India handed over Antigua a request for Choksi's extradition. A team from India was also sent to Antigua to pursue the request, said a PTI report.
First Published on Jan 28, 2019 12:10 pm
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