#MehulChoksi #MehulChoksiMissing #RepublicTV
Even as he faces the prospect of being extradited to India, fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi went missing in Antigua and Barbuda on May 23. Along with his nephew Nirav Modi, he has been accused of allegedly siphoning off Rs 13,500 crore of public money from the Punjab National Bank (PNB), using letters of undertaking. Owner of the Gitanjali group, a retail jewellery company, Choksi secured the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in November 2017 under the aegis of the Citizenship by Investment Programme and fled to the island nation in the first week of January 2018.
Those holding Antigua and Barbuda passports enjoy visa-free travel to 132 countries, including the UK, Singapore, and countries in the Schengen area. Speaking to Republic TV, his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal mentioned that Choksi had gone out for dinner in the Antigua island on Sunday but didn’t return. While his vehicle was discovered in Jolly Harbour later, there was no trace of him. Claiming that his family members have no idea about his whereabouts and are worried, Aggarwal added that the local police is investigating the matter.
Mehul Choksi’s lawyer issues statement
“Mehul Choksi is missing. His family members are worried and anxious and had called me to discuss. Antigua police is investigating. The family is in the dark and worried about his safety,” Mehul Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal stated.
In August 2018, India formally sought Choksi’s extradition underlining the principle of reciprocity, the principle of dual criminality, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption to which both countries are signatories. In 2019, Antigua and Barbuda PM Gaston Browne was quoted as saying that the citizenship of Mehul Choksi will be revoked and will be extradited to India once all his legal options are exhausted. The current legal status of the fugitive diamantaire is shrouded in mystery as a media report suggested that he is fighting revocation of his citizenship in a civil court. But his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal rubbished this claim and maintained that the PNB scam accused remains a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda.
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