According to a person familiar with the matter, India's efforts will be to extradite Choksi to faces charges over defrauding Punjab National Bank of ₹14,000 crore
NEW DELHI :
India is in touch with the government of Dominica where fugitive diamond merchant Mehul Choksi was reportedly arrested from overnight Thursday as well as the administration of Antigua and Barbuda, a country of which Choksi is currently a citizen and from where he fled to Dominica.
A person familiar with the matter said that India’s “efforts will be to extradite him" to face charges in India for defrauding Punjab National Bank of approximately ₹14,000 crore.
The 62-year-old Choksi had gone missing earlier this week from the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, where he fled to in 2018. Reports late Wednesday said he had been arrested from Dominica.
His disappearance from Antigua and Barbuda came amid efforts by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to get him back to India; both agencies are investigating the ₹14,000 crore fraud at India's second-largest, state-owned bank.
According to news reports quoting unnamed sources, Choksi had reached Dominica—a tiny island nation in the Caribbean—by boat. With a lookout circular issued against him, he was caught by the local police and is currently in their custody.
The process of handing him over to the Antigua authorities is on, and the CBI and ED have been informed that he has been found, the news reports quoting persons aware of the matter said. In Antigua, Choksi reportedly has two cases against him in the courts—on extradition and the revocation of citizenship.
Choksi and his nephew, Nirav Modi, had fled India in January 2018, weeks before the scam surfaced. Later, it became known that he had taken citizenship of Antigua two months before the scam surfaced. Choksi has claimed that the cases against him are a result of political conspiracy, and his properties in India were illegally attached by the ED. Nirav Modi, jailed in London, is contesting his extradition to India.