Mehul Choksi is a “crook” and will be repatriated to India after he exhausts all legal options, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said, insisting that the bank fraud fugitives’ deportation is “just a matter of time”. Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are wanted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI for allegedly defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB) to the tune of Rs 13,400 crore.
Browne said Antigua and Barbuda has an independent judiciary and the matter is before the court. “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,” he told DD News.
“He is allegedly a crook. If we would have known that he is a crook, he could not have gotten the Antiguan citizenship,” he said on the 60-year-old jeweller’s deportation. “He would be repatriated and sent back to India to face charges as he brings no value to Antigua and Barbuda,” Browne said. The Antigua and Barbuda prime minister was in New York to attend the UN General Assembly’s annual session.
The multi-crore PNB fraud came to light in early 2018. Both Choksi and Modi had fled the country before that. Modi, 48, is currently in a London jail. The ED in June told the Bombay High Court that it was ready to provide an air ambulance to bring Choksi to India.
Choksi, currently based in the Caribbean nation of Antigua, told the high court that he left India for medical treatment and not to avoid prosecution in the case. He said he would return to India as soon as he is medically fit to travel.