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Mehul Choksi: Dominica issues statement on detention of 'Indian citizen', hints at likely repatriation to Antigua

Describing Mehul Choksi as an "Indian citizen" wanted by the Indian authorities, the Dominican authority said they are exploring the possibility of repatriating him to Antigua - the country where he was based since fleeing from India.

May 28, 2021 / 09:39 AM IST
File image of Mehul Choksi

File image of Mehul Choksi


Fugitive Indian diamantaire Mehul Choksi could be repatriated to Antigua and Barbuda, suggested a statement issued by the Dominican government on May 27, two days after detaining him for "illegally entering" into the country.

While describing Choksi as an "Indian citizen" wanted by the Indian authorities, the Dominican authority said they are exploring the possibility of repatriating him to Antigua - the country where he was based since fleeing from India.

"The Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs confirms that Mr. Mehul Choksi, citizen of India and who is wanted by the Indian authorities has been detained by law enforcement for illegal entry into Dominica," it stated.

Choksi will be now sent back to Antigua and Barbuda, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the country told WIC news, according a news agency ANI.

The development comes amid speculation that Choksi, who had allegedly fled Antigua a few days ago, would now be extradited to India. But, he will now be sent to Antigua and Barbuda, where he holds citizenship.

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"Choksi would be charged with illegally entering Dominica, where he holds citizenship for the past four years," the ANI news report said.

The development means that efforts by India to extradite him back to India straight from Dominica may take longer than expected. Sources had said India was in touch with the governments of Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda to bring him back from the Caribbean region.

Explained | How Indian government plans to extradite fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi and how soon

The Extradition Act, 1962 (the Extradition Act) governs the extradition of a fugitive from India to a foreign country. India has signed extradition agreements with 47 nations but Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica don’t figure in the list. However, India has separate special extradition arrangements with 11 nations, one including Antigua. Signed in 2001, this has been invoked by the government since 2018 to bring Choksi back.

Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda had earlier said he had asked Dominica to hand Choksi directly to India. Browne told media, after news of Choksi’s arrest in Dominica came on May 25 that, he has given “clear instructions" to the Dominican authorities to repatriate Choksi to India.

The statement issued by Dominica further notes that an Interpol red corner notice has been issued against him.

"A red alert has also been issued by Interpol bearing Mr. Choksi's name.

The Ministry of National Security and Home Affairs is in communication with the authorities of Antigua and Barbuda to ascertain some facts including the status of his Antiguan Citizenship," it added.

"Once the information is provided by the Antigua authorities, possible arrangements will be made for Mr. Mehul Choksi to be repatriated to Antigua," the Dominican government further stated.

Choksi, along with his nephew Nirav Modi, is one of the main accused in a loan scam which defrauded India's state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) to the tune of over Rs 13,500 crore. The diamantaire escaped the nation in early 2018, days before his name propped up in the financial scandal.



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Moneycontrol News
first published: May 27, 2021 08:34 pm
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